Advancing racial equality and tackling racism in education: Selected reading

Research Reviews
Author: Chartered College of Teaching
Date:

A collection of articles, blogs, tools and resources around advancing racial equality in education

Overview

Recent events have highlighted a long since established need for educators to examine how we can advance racial equality in and through education. This is clearly a complex issue with varied and strongly-held views, but no simple solutions. This reading list is an extended and updated version of an earlier reading list supporting teachers to think about key issues and approaches to tackling racism, including anti-racism approaches in the dictionary definition sense of “the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance”. This reading list includes a range of areas which teachers may wish to consider and gathers together resources, links and research to support educators with this learning journey. Whilst some of the articles and resources linked have been written or produced specifically in response to recent events, some are more general.

The views within linked articles and resources do not necessarily represent those of the Chartered College, and we are not responsible for the content of any external links. Some of them will present opposing views, or views which you do not agree with, but should support you in thinking about these areas – this is crucial in understanding complex issues.

This list is just a starting point; it is not comprehensive and will be regularly updated with new links, so suggestions of other resources to add are very welcome.

Perspectives on and approaches to tackling racism and advancing racial equality

General:

This guide from the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Research in Race and Education explores Critical Race Theory and notions of white privilege.

A journal article from Paul C Mocombe argues that Critical Race Theory approaches are problematic. This article from The Economist argues from a similar perspective.

This article from the New Yorker explores the approaches and views of two influential authors and speakers around reducing educational inequality, Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo.

This speech by Coleman Hughes outlines his perspective on two competing views on how we might tackle racism: “anti-racism” and what he terms “humanism”. This article in Topical Magazine considers the ideas from this speech.

This Forbes article argues that the ‘all lives matter’ response to Black Lives Matter is problematic.

Understanding racism is an ongoing journey for white people who do not experience it as part of their daily existence. In this blog, Iesha Small expresses the trauma generated by racism.

This research paper written by Shirley Anne Tate and Damien Page at Leeds Beckett University explores whiteliness and institutional racism.

A summary of research from Stanford that found that race was rarely considered in pyschological research, despite race playing a critical role in shaping how people experience the world around them.

Education-specific:

This article describes how educators in the US are coming together in the current context to address racial inequities, saying ‘we have to think about the ways in which we are recreating the systems and structures that have resulted in racial inequities in in-person education, but now in an online environment. And actually exacerbating them.’

This Tes article argues that ‘anti-bias training’ may have little effect, comparing it to discredited ideas like Brain Gym

This guide from ASCD provides approaches and further learning for how to be an anti-racist educator.

The University of Pennsylvania have produced some guidance around talking to children after racist incidents.

This reflection from Tom Sherrington explores questions of anti-racism and allyship as a white educator. Muna Abdi lists a series of actions for educators looking to be a white ally and this collection of resources could be used with colleagues to learn and talk about race and racism. This article, written by Pran Patel for Ambition Institute shares his views on privilege can be used for good.

This journal article from Paul Miller and Christine Callender (paywalled) looks at progression of BME school leadership in England. This working paper from Goldhaber and colleagues looks at why diversity is important in the teacher workforce.

Books to read

Educator and coach, Angela Browne recommends that the starting place for any educator looking to actively tackle racism and advance is to learn first of all and engaging with narratives from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic educators. Books can be a useful source of learning that leads to individual reflection. You may also wish to explore collective reflection through a reading group for you and colleagues.

The links below are typically to Hive, except where they did not have any editions / formats in stock at the time of writing. As with the reading list as a whole, a range of books with different perspectives are explored here, including ones which offer opposing views.

Brit(ish): On race, identity and belonging, Afua Hirsch

Diversify, June Sarpong

Race and Culture, Thomas Sowell

How to be an antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

It’s Not About the Burqa, Mariam Khan

Natives: Race and class in the ruins of the empire, Akala

Teaching to transgress, Bell Hooks

The Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain, Damian Le Bas

White privilege: The myth of a post-racial society, Kalwant Bhopal

Self-portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race, Thomas Chatterton Williams

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race, Renni Eddo-Lodge

This selection of books has recently been made freely available for educators to download.

The BAMEed Network have collated a collection of over 100 books and also this collection of podcasts and videos, which are regularly updated.


Decolonising the curriculum

‘Curriculum is all about power. Decisions about what knowledge to teach are an exercise of power and therefore a weighty ethical responsibility. What we choose to teach confers or denies power. To say that pupils should learn ‘the best that has been thought and said’ is never adequate. Start the conversation, and questions abound: ‘Whose knowledge?’; ‘Who decides on “best”?’. This quote is from an Impact article written by Christine Counsell on Taking Curriculum Seriously.

This report written by Dr Jason Arday for The Black Curriculum team, draws on other key research to explore how the current History National Curriculum systematically omits the contribution of Black British history in favour of a dominant White, Eurocentric curriculum that fails to reflect our multi ethnic and broadly diverse society.

This article, from The Conversation, explores how British Empire is being whitewashed by the school curriculum and this article from University College London Institute of Education considers how school history might help bring understanding and hope.

These talks from Aisha Thomas and Melz Owusu can help educators to understand the need for a decolonisation of the curriculum.

This toolkit, created for Higher Education institutions, provides some useful reflective questions on decolonising the curriculum that colleagues can ask and some practical steps that can follow this reflection. This comes from SOAS University, London and they have a site to learn more about their work. These 7 actions from the Runnymede Trust might provide a starting point for any educator looking to address the diversity of the curriculum.

This article, written for the Chartered College’s Early Career Hub, can be a starting point for considering decolonising the curriculum and this case study from Michelle Mangal explores what this might look like in practice.

This reflection from Mr Finch is a reflective account of the journey towards understanding the need for decolonisation of the curriculum and this reflection from Nick Dennis demonstrates what an examination of a curriculum might begin to result in. If you’re looking to learn more from teachers’ practice and experiences, Decolonise the curriculum is a blog space from Pran Patel where he and other educators reflect on the approaches and practices of examining curricula. This example is from Andrew Milne about a PE curriculum, and this example is from Jimmy Rotherham about music.

Diverse children’s books

In July 2018 CLPE published Reflecting Realities, the first UK study looking at diversity in children’s literature. This report found that only 4% of the children’s books published in 2017 featured BAME characters and only 1% of the children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME main character. You can explore this report in full here. In 2019, their report revealed that there was an increase in books featuring a BAME character from 4% in 2017 to 7% in 2018 and an increase in BAME protagonists from 1% in 2017 to 4% in 2018. You can read this report here.

There are a range of publishers and booksellers dedicated to publishing books for children that will promote inclusion. These include: Booklove: Bookshop, Knights of media, Letterbox Library, Roundtable books and Tiny Owl.

The Twitter account, Wider Reads, is committed to reflecting realities and shares recommendations of children’s books that you should know about, but might not, every fortnight.

This poster was created by the BAMEed Network as a snapshot of books available for children that may diversify your collection. This list was created by Darren Chetty and Karen Sands O’Connor as part of a column written for Books for Keeps, Beyond the Secret Garden.

Assessment Bias

Research suggests that teacher assessment can disadvantage certain groups of students. This blog from Daisy Christodoulou explores some of the reasons teacher assessment is biased; this blog from Pran Patel summarises key research around bias in teacher assessment; and this Tes article by Nuzhat Uthmani looks at the importance of confronting bias in assessment of BAME students, thinking particularly about the current context with exam cancellations.

Leadership and governance

This report, Diversity Matters, from McKinsey and Co. in 2015 looked at the relationship between the level of diversity (defined as a greater share of women and a more mixed ethnic/racial composition in the leadership of large companies) and company financial performance (measured as average EBIT 2010–2013) and provides some interesting insights to any leader working to diversify their organisation. This article from Harvard Business Review explores why so many organisations stay white.

This article specifically explores how schools might go about attract and retain Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic educators. The approaches were used in Bristol but are potentially applicable in other contexts.

This document from Deloitte explores some of the practical steps that can be taken by organisations seeking to diversify their boards, this article in Harvard Business Review considers when and why diversity improves a board’s performance and this blog from Penny Rabiger considers the role of bias in achieving diverse representation.

This Twitter thread from Dr Erin Thomas offers advice to help organisations move from performative action to sustainable activism.

This guidance and risk assessment was produced by the BAMEed Network for school leaders to use to keep their BAME colleagues safe during COVID-19.

Useful organisations, individuals and research publications

A collection of organisations working towards equity collated by the BAMEed Network as well as regional networks for educators around the UK

BERA – race, ethnicity and education provide a forum for researchers of ‘race’, ethnicity and education, host seminars, publish papers and support and facilitate the development and quality of research in relation to these issues.

The Institute of Race Relations publishes a quarterly journal Race & Class, free briefing papers on issues of racism in Europe and the UK and occasional books, pamphlets and reports.

Race, Ethnicity and Education is the leading peer-reviewed journal on racism and race inequality in education.

Runnymede is the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. They generate intelligence to challenge race inequality in Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement. You can read their publications here.

The Traveller Movement is a leading national charity committed to the fulfilment of human rights for ethnic minority Gypsy Roma and Traveller people. The site hosts a range of publications including, a good practice guide to improving outcomes for gypsy, roma and traveller children in education.