Teaching to Transform
Despite living and operating in the height of a global pandemic, we have continued to cultivate and nurture relationships with communities, educators and schools within the locale. Inspired by the work of bell hooks, Teaching to Transform takes up elements of the unfinished agenda of the Macpherson Report’s recommendation to combat the “failure of the National Curriculum to adequately reflect the needs of a diverse, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society (Macpherson, 1999).” The project intends to provide an opportunity for the SLRC to contribute to DMU’s wider public engagement agenda by influencing anti-racist, social-justice oriented pedagogic practice in Leicester, a city well known for its racial and ethnic diversity.
The Four Key Elements
Inreach - Utilising our resources for teaching and learning in relation to our research target areas
Outreach - Engaging in external teaching and learning spaces in relation to our research target areas
Teacher Education: how to be an anti-racist educator - Working with educators to develop racial literacies and social justice-oriented pedagogies
Research, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Case Studies - Building research frameworks around our work in schools and with educators to co-produce, collect data, monitor and evaluate various interventions and demonstrating impact
Since the start of the project in February 2019, we have partnered with a number of local schools and educators on a variety of inreach and outreach initiatives to support and enhance current teaching practices and to encourage positive conversations around race, inclusion and social justice to take place in the classroom.
See an outline of the Teaching To Transform Professional Pathways Programme.
A quick look at some of these engagements:
Classroom takeovers or assemblies
School visits where the SLRC would deliver an assembly or classroom session to give students the opportunity to explore a number of avenues around race, identity, citizenship and relationships. Visits can be scheduled at suitable times throughout the academic year.
Stephen Lawrence Day at DMU experience 2019
A day-long programme to commemorate the annual National Stephen Lawrence Day (22 April), themed “Live Your Best Lives” that gave students an opportunity to learn more about Stephen Lawrence’s story, interact with some of the materials from the Stephen Lawrence Archive and think creatively about how Stephen’s story inspires them to become agents of social change.
More than a hundred pupils from six Leicester secondary schools visit DMU for Stephen Lawrence Day (2019)
Bespoke school visits to the centre
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we welcomed class visits from schools to the centre, to visit the exhibition space and to learn about the work that we do to continue Stephen’s powerful legacy. We worked collaboratively with the lead teacher to plan an appropriate hour-long session that fitted into their teaching agenda and curriculum.
Students and educators from The Lancaster School attended an SLRC bespoke session as part of Freedom Day at DMU (2019)
Local Educators Listening Sessions
We readily engage with a consortium of local schools to plan activities that can help to transform and enhance current teaching practices to help make the curriculum more inclusive, via our Teaching to Transform programme. These schools are doing some fantastic work around race and social justice issues including creating Stephen Lawrence Ambassadors and Stephen Lawrence Awards programmes, forming Stephen Lawrence Day Committees and parliaments, creating academy-wide lesson plans and fun charity events, for example.
Teacher Education: How to Be an Anti-racist Educator
Modelled after work undertaken by UCL’s Centre for Holocaust Education, the Centre for the Study of Legacies of British Slave Ownership and the Runnymede Trust, this project builds from work with the Life Multi-Academy Trust, the Leicester City Council and the SLRC’s local educator network to design and deliver a scalable teacher education pilot programme that enables local educators to develop racial literacies and practice anti-racist pedagogies. The programme aims to empower educators to understand, identify and communicate more effectively about how the dynamics of race and racism operate in the classroom and the wider schooling environment so that they are equipped with practical tools to create inclusive learning environments using anti-racist pedagogies. Additionally, this programme aims to generate a robust regionally-focussed evidence base to amplify calls for educational policy reform and government investment in teacher education initiatives that will address longstanding inequalities in education.
For the 2020/21 academic year, in partnership with the LiFE Multi-Academy Trust (LiFE MAT) the SLRC introduced a pilot project that seeks to develop a bespoke teacher education programme that emphasises building racial literacies amongst local educators. The programme aims to co-create strategies and facilitate the embedding of anti-racist practice in local schools with an eye toward addressing the persistence of racial inequalities and injustices in the classroom, the curriculum and the wider school environment.