Liquorice and dark chocolate

It’s the third day of my blogging journal (challenge) and I’ve been re-reading a little about an anti-racist education model by Guo and Jamai in: Innovations in Lifelong Learning. I first came across this when discussing ‘Inclusive Assessment’ with Alison Iredale and at the time I was, and still am of the view that it gives us much to think about in our education strategy, policies and practice. The authors believe that we need to consider aspects of privilege, difference and power and suggest some objectives:

  1. Integrate multiple centres of knowledge by adding diverse sources of knowledge to Eurocentric education; integrate indigenous, spiritual and community knowledge into the curriculum; create spaces for marginalised voices and promote alternative ways of knowing.
  2. Recognise and respect difference  by considering and valuing complex identities; ensuring teaching practices acknowledge and validate identities and understanding how forms of difference intersect and interlock. Teaching about difference and power; re-thinking learning and authority and recognise own assumptions, beliefs and values.
  3. Effecting social and educational change through equity, access and social justice by systemic and fundamental organisational change which addresses inequities in structures and environments.
  4. Teaching for community empowerment  by drawing margins into the centre; increasing individual and group self-esteem through active involvement and mutual respect.

The exposure and re-thinking of power relations, together with the construct of  inclusion resonates with a paper I co-wrote with Alison which can be read here.

Whilst writing this the work of the Northern College  enters my thoughts. Especially when talking of social justice, equality, difference and identity. There’s much food for thought on their activities in this blog.

On a food note I’ve found a sublime new taste combination: liquorice (see Learning Adventure – 1) and dark chocolate (see Learning Adventure – 2).

Students with stories to tell: Inclusive marking

I ran my eye along the desk.  It’s not a big or beautiful desk. The space for planning and mark making with paper, pens and pencils is now occupied by anonymous technology. This desk and space is part of the identity of being a teacher. It provides a degree of stability, security and structure to a teacher’s day. Perhaps even a psychological safe place. I know who and what I am in this space. It’s where I generally live as a teacher when not in the classroom. It’s a shared space, a social space, a dialogic space. A space for conversations, co-existing, collaboration, thinking and reflection. The Ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus is said to once demand of a friend whose house had burnt to the ground, “If you really understand what governs the universe, how can you yearn for bits of stone and pretty rock?” I appreciate that the scale and magnitude isn’t comparable but sometimes after the classroom my desk space speaks of serenity, a restorative space just to be. Continue reading