Claire Stewart-Hall

Why do white teachers have a problem talking about race in schools?

We have all learned to avoid talking about race in English schools. We can talk about it in deficit, this child can’t do this or can’t do that… this intervention is needed… but there is a gap in professional teacher discourse about the role race and identity have in everyday school situations and school structures.

Can you imagine if we didn’t acknowledge gender in schools?

What if professionals felt uncomfortable voicing the concerns they had about dynamics that masculinity or femininity were having on teenagers or reception children? Imagine if we chose not to be conscious of contesting, questioning and countering gender stereotypes of children and the impact of our own gender in situations as professionals? If we chose to ignore the different effects of gender when dealing with behaviour or in safeguarding? It would lead to multiple professional misinterpretations and mistakes. We would be neglecting to prepare children to become their future selves and not understanding the many layers of a child’s social reactions to teacher-student/student-student situations. Surprising then, that white teachers and leaders ignore the role of race in everyday school dynamics.

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