Race 3

The room of silence

(Work in progress)

The room of silence a personal and emotional place of recognition of the student experiences I only know too well. What black person or person of colour has not been through the similar experiences? A Latino student in the video mentions how she counts the number of students of colour that are in prominently white places. How many black people or person of colour have walked into many higher educational establishments and counted how many black people are occupying those spaces?

There is so much to be said about this video. For each of the student experiences highlighted in the video I could give many accounts to experiences (those that are my own or of other people) influenced my teaching practice. It’s all cliché to use regurgitate words I have heard educational establishments use to promote themselves so many times of being ‘student centred’ if not all students and their needs are considered.  For a start teacher must invest the time to find out about their students and their communities. The importance of respectfully addressing the student by name and making time to find out and share the student interests. A poignant comment from a student describes his treatment of his teacher continuously not bothering to address him by his correct name and the fellow students highlighting the fact.

“How I exist in my space will affect how I perform and will directly affect my grade.”

I identify from watching the video how the students were made to feel invisible and therefore isolated.  This isolation, no representation, mentor or guide that understand the student and supports their need leads to poor attainment and the widening of the gap.

It made me consider in my practice the importance to show care and understanding for all students from the basics of sharing with them their interests. As a black member of staff this is something I have always done as a teacher. I use current topics of interest to engage all students and support learning and to develop good relationships. These students have invested their time, energy and money to not receive a lesser experience!

It is important not to tolerate and form of discrimination and abuse. This video I would show to students and staff to be ground rules set out from the beginning.

In brief here are highlighted issues for me that teachers need to be aware and address in their practice to facilitate their students.

  • Student feedback is important it helps you to find ways to help the student in return.
  • Students from the start should be encouraged to share information ideas about themselves and their interests. This will inform and teach each other as well as the teacher.
  • Take the time to research topics that students are interested in to support, you will learn something.
  • There need to be a wider mentoring program for students to receive guidance and support from

The classroom crit is a place of power and oppression.
The room of silence screams of the ignorance that white teachers, those coming from a place of privilege have no interests, in not finding it necessary to even begin to relate, investigate or understand BAME students. The isolation of the crit, the stripping of ones identity to not talk about artist themes that relate to race, gender, sexuality, disability and faith can mentally and physically castrating thus damaging. Wanting to silence those students who have valuable contributions. Their right to freedom of expression that is not offensive to others denied. Its seen a confrontational, where a student wishes to assert their art with confidence is taken as aggressive or shut down or ignored. This bears similarities to Tappers piece a psychological mind game with subconscious and mindful intent.

I have been in that place where I have produced artwork and presented at a class crit to be denied and classed as too political or not quite fitting the brief. My sister who had gone through the same experience had warned me after I came home feeling deflated from a crit. “The moment you mention the subject of your identity and race it will affect how the teachers treat you and have an on your place on the course and impact on your grade”. She had said that through her own place of pain having decided that after the first year to leave the fashion course and pursue writing instead. This was over thirty years ago and still this classroom conflict continues! Did my sisters comment suggest that to survive higher education a non-white student not reference their own identity? To strip away heritage and culture and belief to thrive and survive in these white spaces within the institution? There seems to be that expectation of refusal to address issues of identity and race for being too uncomfortable. There is no more room to extend the comfort zone. By ignoring the issue doesn’t mean it’s going away.

Important to watch

Decolonising the Institution #2 | Shades of Noir

Related reads

‘Black Faces in White Spaces’: Spotlight on Rhian Spencer

Peekaboo We See You Whiteness

 

Race – The Robber’s Cave experiment

The psychology around The Robber’s Cave experiment is an interesting one. How would The Robbers Cave experiment work in a classroom setting? Does it already exist as a place of conflict? I say yes. I can compare the concept of this experiment to the Inclusive Teaching and Learning Unit and the Teaching Within program. There is no doubt when some white academics are confronted by the fact that their methods and practices are profoundly Eurocentric. Where alternative methods for inclusive teaching are introduced by BAME staff the reaction is often one of hostility.

The ‘defiance’ black academics pose is a simple one of delivering an inclusive pedagogy. Addressing the lack of diversity within the institution by employing a curriculum, methods of teaching that encourages cultural diversity. Creating spaces that supports all students to receive enhanced learning, deep thinking and a place to become a visible voice.

This is not widely accepted with some academics within the institution. Particularly from those that come from a place of privilege are challenged to think about their own position of having been blinkered and disconnected to issues of social injustice with regards to identities and race.

The resource seen as limited by those who are insecure wishing to retain their position of power In denial to amend those insecurities their hostility creates conflict. You’ve only got to read Inside the Ivory Tower: Narratives of Women of Colour Surviving and Thriving in British academia (10 Nov 2017) to see how it plays out in Higher Education. The key issue here is that are presence resist erasure, therefore the current lack of representation of BAME students and staff is temporary.

Where would the need for cooperation to take place? The result of National Student Surveys Government rule? Or by creating positively structured environments where to have the opportunity to re evaluate relations with one another. (Tapper).  The Inclusive Teaching and Learning Unit, and Shades of Noir are such that positively structured environments for understanding and changing mindsets.

Race – 2

Arron J. Hahn Tapper in his article A pedagogy of social justice education: social identity, theory and intersectionality’

(work in progress)

Reading this text my initial thoughts was how this article from Conflict Resolution Quarterly related to race. Tapper’s article exampled theories and practice that are centred on the conflict between Palestinians and Jews and ways in education that can address this issue. Reading deeper and focusing on the concepts of conflict resolution and social justice I considered how this applies to the framework of teaching and learning within Art and Design education and issues surrounding race. Tapper’s paper is to explore theoretical and practical understanding of social justice through conflict transformation programs that aims to transform negative destructive conflict to positive constructive conflict.

Tapper first mentions that in the field of conflict resolution practitioners and theoreticians in that field are regularly using the term Social Justice Education however are not putting it into practice. Their focus is in intergroup work. I make connections and my understanding of this is that there is a focus on working with different racial groups however lack the element of embedding social justice within their models.

‘Some argue that without integrating elements of social justice education into models aimed at reducing, managing and resolving conflict between groups, programs will fail.’
(Tapper, 2013)

Therefore failing to recognise and address issues of inequality amongst marginalised groups.  Social justice education is the aim of this unit and what we are trying to achieve.
The core pillars of a Pedagogy of social justice education I can relate to through my studies on this Inclusive Teaching and Learning unit, we have covered the three educational pillars which Tapper highlights his focus. Likewise, we have looked at Freiren notions of social justice and elements where teachers can enforce their position of power to fill the minds of students rather the recepricol approach to facilitating and sharing knowledge and practice.

Therefore, Tapper’s references to Freirean concepts within the article only confirms my understanding of the importance challenging the status quo. Thereby application of interventions to address the imbalance in this case the lack of diversity within the higher education sector in the UK and focusing on UAL in particular.

I found the social identity aspect a really important factor to a Pedagogy of Social Justice Education. The conflict to be addressed in the case relating to intergroup education is one of race and racism within spaces of the university setting. Recounting Tapper’s discussion on Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2006) everyone one in the classroom are not from the same starting point in terms of social status and identity. This I am aware.  I consider to share of my own identity and through discussing my practice.

I think it’s absolutely imperative that student’s identities need to be taken into account in all educational settings. With this the teacher and students can learn about and from each other. A small example is teaching the First Year BA students starting with the theme of their identity. Students were placed into groups where they would not normally appear thus separated for their normal friendship groups. Within these groups students discussed and shared keywords relating to their identity. Students found that they had discovered something new and commonalties that they would not have known otherwise or taken the time to learn before. Moving on from this to work in groups to discuss and present their collective response to Marginalisation. The groups began to reflect on their own identities and their position in the world as well as engage in habitual, critical reflection (Tapper, 2013). This encouraged critical thinking out of the of the bubble of the classroom and to think of the bigger picture; understanding what goes on the world around them and how they might intergrate and inform concepts within their own practice.  Ultimatley empowering students to become free thinkers and action makers for social justice.

Within the Banking System of power and oppression it is a concern how much a teacher’s identity and social status can potentially be (an actuality in many cases) a cause of conflict through their own ignorance and sheer failure to consider their students. Freire describes how such behaviour can be unintentional however none the less damaging:

Those who use the banking approach, knowingly or unknowingly (for there are innumerable well-intentioned bank-clerk teachers who do not realize that they are serving only to dehumanize).

The subconscious bias leads to the projection of their own and often eurocentric ideals and teaching methods handed down from their own educational traditional and predominately white experiences. Therefore this banking system of power plays out in the teachers choice of planning a curriculum, delivery of lessons that are neither inclusive or diverse where crits and assessments can be a platform for some teachers to wield their power of oppression. In my experience of secondary school teaching I have witnessed this. Teachers not making fair assessments on the attainment levels along the trajectory path towards GCSE two tier paper entry levels.

However this conflict does not soley arise from teacher to student but how all students interact with one another respectfully and in the space of the classroom environment how that its managed by the teacher. Thus the importance for a teacher to create a safe space for students to freely be able to share knowledge of their own identities to become critical co-instigators with the teacher (Freire, 2006) and respectfully learn and understand their peers.

Tapper’s discussion on Social Identity Theory section and intregroup encounters, seem to be just theories. Theories and concepts often emerge in the merry-go-round in education that encounter areas of social justice. Contact Hypothesis reminds me of a recent time when restorative justice similarly taken from criminal law system to resolve issues of conflict within the classroom. As a standalone belief without putting into practice and risk being unchallenged. In practice is to embed inclusive teaching and learning pedagogy can challenge issues surrounding certain conflicts by making a safe space for shared narratives and reflection for mutual understanding.

Race -1

Shades of Noir (SoN) http://shadesofnoir.org.uk/

(work in progress)

  • How could you apply the resources to your own teaching practice?
    “how do I apply the resources to my own teaching practice?”.
    Shades for me is a place of comfort to research, catch up on current affairs local and beyond that pushes the marginal line of inequality. SoN is a space for wider knowledge and understanding of topics  the first instance there is a wealth of resources that can be used towards planning lesson and projects to open discussion and awareness to thinking critically on. Reading articles in the Arts, Media and Education sections can support curriculum planning and widen my knowledge and help to keep me abreast of news and current affairs that can be shared with the students and directed to collegues.SoN keeps me updated and informed of events that I can participate in and share with my students and those that I encounter. It’s a news source so the archives are beneficial to referencing. I have been fortunate to have participated in some of the lectures to feed my knowledge and share in debates and discussions. Contributions can be made to where.I tend to use the Terms of reference zines to enhance and support any ideas I have on the themes for teaching. The range of articles is a place that teachers can broaden their knowledge and issues surrounding race, class, gender, faith disability, therefore to gain insight and understanding of their students that assist teaching towards equality and social justice.There is a wealth of activities and events that I can participate and well as my students. If there are things that I need to be more aware of in order to understand and support my students more I tend to use the Terms of reference.

 

http://shadesofnoir.org.uk/festishisation-of-the-black-wc-in-art-schools-its-not-all-bless/

For teaching and learning of my artefact I visited the education section of shades I like also going to the database to explore and see what I can find with regards to my interests and subject areas for my teaching practice.

Diigo Database

http://shadesofnoir.org.uk/intersectionality-and-police-brutality-against-black-women/

 

  • How could you integrate the research/work your students do on this subject into your teaching/professional practice 

Most recently students have been researching the theme of marginalised voices through the prism of gender and race. This stemmed from my artefact. I found to have an artefact to base the lesson on a really important and powerful tool for student engagement and for my own lesson planning . It was a good foundation to scaffold learning and critical thinking and awareness.

Students in their groups had discussed mind mapped and shared ideas on who they considered to be marginalised groups. They then narrorowed down to focus on one marginalised group in particular. on uncover

The scaffolding began with students sharing with each other aspects of their identity through discussion based on a drawing tasks of their lips and 5 key words to describe themselves. They were paired with a partner that they would not normally sit with in the social context of friendship groups in the classroom that forced the students to discuss and find out more about their peers. I had direct the students to Shades of Noir for their research on marginalised voices and importantly as a place for them to learn and become involved events.

 

 

 

 

  •  Can you cite examples? 
You will share your thoughts within your groups and comment and share further resources you use in your own context.I had left students on at the end of the fist day with the word Intersectionality an explained clearly the history of the phrase coined by Kimberley Crenshaw in 1989.In my research for reaching my artefact to BA Theatre Design students I came across some interesting websites that can be a point of reference for students and colleagues.

Here is a really interesting video regarding featuring Dorinda Carter on  Equity and Equality that helped me to understand the article I had read on the same subject.

The consciousness gap in education – an equity imperative | Dorinda Carter Andrews | TEDxLansingED
https://youtu.be/iOrgf3wTUbo