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Changing The Lens

Professor Jason Arday shares reflections on the importance of diverse voices in education.
My name is Jason Arday, I’m a Professor of Sociology of Education at University of Glasgow, and a trustee of the Runnymead Trust. I think the central premise of education is to prepare people to take their place within society. And we don’t feel that our curricula facilitates people to take their place in a multicultural, multi diverse society. It doesn’t do that. So what you end up with is this kind of new generation of people who bring in these new ignorances to spaces of equality and kind of taint those spaces with their ignorance. But their ignorance should have been capped when they were in school.
So you have this kind of system that does that while simultaneously disadvantaging particular minority groups of people and kind of providing the catalyst to school to prison pipelines. You know, people being kind of vulnerable at a young age high exclusion rates people having filtered forms of education that don’t give them, you know, this bigger scope of what society truly is. And that’s, that’s problematic because you’re not preparing people to take their place in society and I think when you don’t educate people in the right ways… that is an example, one example of what can happen amongst all the other examples being, you know, the absence of particular types of histories the kind of sanitizing of particular types of history.
And what it does do is place minority groups, particularly people of colour, further risk, and at further harm. So it’s it’s kind of cyclical in its consequence. We know how to disrupt it. But for some reason, putting those parts in and kind of working out intricacies of that, that there is a rejection of that people don’t want to do that. I guess the barriers facing teachers are resources and an appetite for change. So you can have teachers who have taught for 20 years. Who may genuinely believe these issues have no place in. The classroom. And then you may have teachers who are beginning their journeys. You may have a very fixed disposition of what learning and pedagogy should be.
And so part of disrupting that and dismantling that really requires people to engage in a new way of thinking. And part of that means kind of intrinsically interrogating, those values and belief systems. How do we prioritize those types of things? How do we create space? And in the time where teachers have more and more infringements upon their space, how do we create space for teachers? And I think one of the best ways to do it is for senior leaders to set the agenda, to prioritize that, to budget for that, to recpognise that as being important.
You know, and I think part of the problem is that senior leaders haven’t recognized it as being important, which is meant that when you then ask teachers to do it, they see it as something that’s an amendment to what is an already difficult workload, you know. So for example, the idea of having to ask, can we have black history on the curriculum, it’s how do we change that narrative? It’s not black history, it’s our history. You know, when we’re talking about history, you cannot filter history. You can’t have this melancholic view of history that positions Britain an empire on the right side of history all the time. You have to give it in an unfiltered way.
And that is really really important And I think that’s going to be the closest we’ll get to really preparing people and really dismantling racism bit by bit and other intersectional inequalities. But until you have that kind of cohesiveness and that coherence in any kind of dialogue, it does become difficult.
CARGO Classroom resources are rooted in a perspective that reframes history for all.

As we have said, CARGO Classroom lessons focus on the achievements, accomplishments and contributions of African and African Diaspora individuals. A fundamental part of that is careful consideration of the way in which the histories are framed. The corner stone of an inclusive curriculum is an awareness of the lenses through which we present each subject and the questions that we ask of it.

In this video Jason Arday, Professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Glasgow, talks about the way in which inclusive histories are typically framed within existing curriculums.

Over the following four steps we are going to ask you to take on the role of a student who is being taught CARGO Classroom’s Imhotep lesson. After you have experienced part of a CARGO Classroom, we are going to ask you to reflect on how Imhotep has been framed in this lesson and to consider how this strategy might help a teacher to deliver more inclusive lessons.

Reflecting on Jason’s words, use the comments section below to share:

  • three examples of how African and African Diaspora history was framed by the curriculum you were taught at school
  • three considerations you could make that would help make the framing of your lessons more inclusive
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Practical Skills for Teaching Inclusive History: CARGO Classroom

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