Teaching about identity, diversity and democracy-some thoughts and ideas from ACT
The recent discussions about British identity, the success of UKIP in the European elections in May and the Trojan Horse incidents in Birmingham have all focussed attention on the importance of high quality Citizenship being a core part of education for young people and also at the heart of the way the school relates to the community it is set in. Citizenship teachers can initiate conversations with colleagues in school about these matters and also create powerful lesson opportunities to help pupils explore the complexity of living together in the UK. Notions of identity, multiple identities, diversity, democracy and responsibility, rights, participation and community engagement are at the heart of the recent discussions. Citizenship teachers should seek to raise the quality of debate with pupils so that they can make sense of the opinions, myths, comments and facts they hear about.
School policies can still draw on the advice and guidance about Community Cohesion published by the DCSF in 2007. Though the language of CoCo has disappeared from educators lexicons, there is much information in the Duty to Promote Community Cohesion that can be helpful to school leaders, governors and Citizenship co ordinators. Similarly, it is important to remember the guidance and advice held with the Ajegbo Report; Diversity and Citizenship Curriculum Review and the subsequent review of resources that ACT published in 2007. The DCSF also produced the Prevent Strategy in 2008 Learning to be Safe Together and the Coalition government published a Prevent strategy in 2011; these documents should be read with caution as they do not always reference Citizenship closely enough.
Teachers wanting to plan the best work in diversity and identity should still refer to the KS3/4 curriculum from 2007 strands on Diversity and Identities; Living Together in the UK and also read advice on teaching topical, controversial and sensitive issues
Citizenship teachers can access some excellent resources from archives. The ACT/RGS Who Do We Think We Are resources reference identity and Britishness and Under the Skin: an enquiry based approach to Identity, Race and Nationality. Colleagues at CitizED have student’s schemes of work worthy of viewing. Finally, there are the lessons from the 2002 Citizenship programme of study.
More recently teachers can find lessons from TeachIt and Moving People, Changing Places . Hampshire LEA produce the resource Hampshire Homes and Hope. It is worth teachers also looking at the TES website for resources and also looking at BIHR’s Right Here, Right Now. The BBC Learning Zone has useful clips for teachers to use.