I teach in multicultural, inner-city schools. My work is concerned with those students who come from ethnic minority backgrounds – sometimes I am known as the EMA (Ethnic Minority Achievement) teacher and sometimes as the EAL (English as an Additional Language) teacher. Sometimes I teach EAL and sometimes I work with departments to develop the curriculum so that it is more inclusive of ethnic minority communities. Whatever I do, it always involves challenging racism and acting as an advocate for young people whose lives and experiences and how these impact on their learning are not always fully understood by some of my colleagues.
As well as teaching, I work with others in a small environmental organisation in solidarity with communities around the world whose lands and livelihoods are threatened by the activities of large scale mining companies. These communities are mainly based in Africa, Asia and South America – as well as indigenous communities in Australia, North America and elsewhere. Historically, these are communities who have experienced colonialism in one form or another. People who live in the UK still benefit from the exploitation of other people`s land. For example, just recently, Afro-Colombian communities were violently evicted from their land to make way for one of the largest coal mines in the world which supplies UK power stations. Yet it is unlikely that most people in the remaining settlements around that coal mine will have access to electricity themselves.
I am partly from an ethnic minority community myself. In my own personal and family memory are the experiences of colonialism, independence, civil war and racism. These memories are a part of a greater world story in which unequal relationships of economic and political power continue to shape the way in which countries and people relate to each other in the world today. It worries me that in Britain as the living memory of Britain`s (and Europe`s) imperial history fades into the past we are in danger of losing the ability to stay alert to the ways in which the assumptions of this history continue to shape the society we live in with its global social and economic inequalities and to inform the racism still embedded in our institutions and our media.
This blog consists of a collection of thoughts, notes and/or resources that I have created from books and articles I have read, talks I have attended, pictures and films I have seen and places I have been to. I hope you find something of value and interest in them too.