Anti-racism off the cuff

8th October 2010 at 01:00

Teaching teenagers can be a hard job but is one I adore and wouldn't change. I teach in an FE college in North Staffordshire and have done so for six years. I'm in my late 20s with two children under four. I have been tasked with delivering a unit called Citizenship and Diversity. I have been diligently following the prescribed syllabus and have taught it for a few years.

Recently we were discussing the ethnicity data from the 2001 census, including the details on religion and the inevitable questions this raises. Some students were making racist insinuations which I felt I needed to question. So I abandoned my lesson plan and dealt with the issue head on. I feel the only way to tackle racism is to confront it. I asked these youngsters to be open about what was bothering them and I addressed each concern individually.

So what would Ofsted have thought about my abandoned lesson plan, my attempt to tackle racism directly and to get the honest viewpoints of my students? I'm not sure it would have gone down too well. In my PGCE, this issue was very much glossed over.

Jill Salt, Biddulph, Staffordshire.

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