Book of the week: Diversity beats adversity

16th January 2004 at 00:00

The Monkey's Mask: identity, memory, narrative and voice
By Chris Kearney
Trentham Books pound;17.99

This book is about identities. As it's the aim of all good teachers to make every child they teach feel special, the book should be of great interest to schools. But its target readership seems more one of researchers interested in theory, and policy-makers trying to implement national or local programmes.

There's a wealth of literature on the interlocking fields of culture and identity. Little is based on the sort of sound research that led to this book, so most is characterised by over-simplistic generalisation. Chris Kearney avoids this, as you would expect from someone with a distinguished career as a primary teacher in the inner city followed by some years in initial teacher education at Goldsmiths College.

The book is based on sensitively conducted interviews with six successful adults in their thirties - still young enough to remember their childhood, adolescence and schooling clearly, yet with the bulk of their careers in front of them. What the six have innbsp; common is that they all come from countries and cultures other than the British mainstream: three were born here; three arrived during childhood.

Read more in this week's TES Friday magazine

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