Tag Archives: teaching

The Proper English

As a young teacher in a multicultural school in West London, with a reasonably serious level of interracial conflict among the children, I was asked to deliver a programme of anti-racist education to 13 year old children. As with much of the material that was produced at the time, it was well meaning and good intentioned, but ultimately a little patronising and slightly cringe-worthy. The material only came into its own when matters deviated from the prepared lesson plan and into uncharted territory.

It was during one of these sessions that the concept of Englishness that the English hold so dear was illustrated to me. The material provided was a fairly asinine attempt to dispel stereotyping. There were five illustrated figures and five jobs – the task was to match the figure to the job. Clues were in the illustrations about which jobs the figures held, while all of the jobs were highly associated with racial stereotypes. The task meandered along, with me giving heavy hints of what to look for to correctly associate the job and the figure. Problems arose when it came to an illustration of a middle aged asian woman in traditional dress carrying a briefcase. The correct answer, which was by this time the only one left – was “a sales executive”. This matching was robustly challenged by one of the white boys in the group.

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Learning to read in a digitised world

Over on John Connell’s blog there has been some discussion around the meaning of literacy in a digitised era. I have my issues with the traditional meaning of literacy, but lets plough on regardless. I just wanted to share a few anecdotes about how technology and in particular games have shaped my eldest son’s learning.
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Literacy in a new era

Thinking a little bit on Post Literacy and looking at what it means to be literate in todays society – one way of relating post literacy and digital literacy is to look at literacy as a property not of a person but of a social environment. That literacy is the medium through which we gain access to community knowledge.

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