Addressing Racism from Classroom Teaching

Research Highlights in Education and Science 2016

Editors: Wenxia Wu, Selahattin Alan, Mustafa Tevfik Hebebci

Research Highlights in Education and Science 2016


Addressing Racism from Classroom Teaching

Chapter Authors: Shirin Housee

Abstract: As teachers striving to create a democratic and safe classroom ‘space’ that is open to varied views and perspectives we often struggle when it comes to discussions on racism and islamophobia. Some students withdraw from classroom debate and remain silent, whilst others, speak out those personal views on specific ‘race’ debates. As an educationalist, I see my job as a teacher in the classroom to help students to challenge racism and to encourage changed thinking. I argue that our students should be directed to anti- racist, anti-sexist, indeed against all sorts of oppressive ideas. I ask in this paper, “What can educationalists do to undo racism that emerges from teaching and learning moments? This paper offers examples of teaching exchanges from classroom teaching that explores ways of teaching against racism. It underlines the importance of anti-racism as it emerges organically within classroom engagement and exchange. This paper explores student views and perspectives on ‘race’ sensitive issues and examines the benefits in drawing out racialised comments that emerge from classroom debates. The underlying interest for the writer is to examine the ways in which such classroom interaction, dialogue and exchanges can inform anti-racist thinking and critique. Student centred learning, where student voice and perspectives are welcomed in the critique against racism, is about opening up new and important debates about ethnicity and identity in education. I argue here, that classroom debates can interrogate the common-sense racism that exists in ones thinking. This article draws from a seminar discussion moment when a small number of students shared their views on religious dress and educational issues.

Pages: 156-167

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