Training grounds for racism?;Letter

25th June 1999 at 01:00
I support the need for more recruits from ethnic-minority groups into teaching (TES, June 11). However, my own research, which has involved interviewing African-Caribbean male primary teachers, indicates that, while training, issues of racism do occur.

Comments such as: "They looked at me and saw a stereotype", and "They think equal opportunities is giving a little black man a job" demonstrate how teacher-trainers need to develop materials to challenge the institutional racism these men faced.

Case studies (TES, April 9) from Hilary Clare, concerning the training experience of two black female student teachers, also confirm that racism does not stop at the door of teacher training.

It is essential that as well as setting targets to train more black and Asian students, the Teacher Training Agency considers this fact. We must ensure that student teachers from these particular groups are not further disadvantaged during their studies. When a black teacher tells me that his experience of training gave him "a nightmare, the worst four years of my life..." I realise that it is not enough to force trainers to admit more black students; we must consider their training experiences once they are on course.

D Burn Flat 11, Artisan House 36 Middlesex Street, London E1

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