The development of our racial identity project is now well underway. Michelle conducted further focus groups in 3 schools earlier this year to inform the creation of a set of lessons, meeting with students from years 7 to 10.
The groups were of mixed gender and ethnicity and we kept the groups small so that the young people could talk and share more easily.
We also used anonymous questionaries to enable the young people to say things they may not have felt comfortable saying during the sessions.
One thing that really struck us was how many of the young people really needed to ‘offload’ and share their lived or seen racism experiences before they were able to move on to participate in the actual project.
Some young people knew who they were and were comfortable and confident with that, whereas others did not know.
Many were mixed race and said things like, “If I go back to my mother’s or father’s culture or country of birth, I don’t fit in either one, they all know I’m not from there, I don’t speak or dress like them - so who am I?”
The young people were keen to both teach about their own culture and to learn about others.
The focus groups led to the creation of 5 linked lessons, which we started piloting in July. The topics are Identity, Diversity and Culture, What is it? (racism/discrimination/stereotypes), History in Britain, and How can we take more action on racism?
Feedback from the piloted sessions (from students, teachers and other colleagues) will be collated and given consideration for any amendments and improvements to the sessions.
We look forward to updating you as the project develops!
Some feedback from the anonymous questionnaires:
"Sessions about race are important because it makes people more empowered. Starting it may be awkward but, as the convo keeps going, we get educated."
"The sessions will help young people learn and improve the situation of racism."
This project has been made possible by generous grants from: