A reflection from the Humanities Department: How are we creating a diverse curriculum which embeds Black History and responds to the Black Lives Matter movement?
On Friday 2nd October Chobham staff participated in a Virtual INSET day with scholar Robin Walker, to discuss the important ideas and themes surrounding Black History and ways to further diversify our curricula. This discussion was thought provoking, casting light on ways we can make our curricula, particularly at KS4-5, more inclusive and diverse.
In Humanities we are aiming to transform our curricula to reflect the numerous triumphs and never-ending narratives of the BAME community. Learning about the achievements of people our students can identify with, look up to and be proud of can alter perceptions and mindsets. We want students to leave their Humanities lessons as well-rounded and tolerant individuals who are aware of and can celebrate Black History through all of our subjects. As a result, the Humanities team have been working hard to respond by further diversifying our curriculum offer to all year groups. This is how:
Across KS3 units have been, or are being adapted, to further diversify the curriculum and teach History through multiple narratives. In Year 7 we have amended our unit on Islamic Civilisations so that students will also learn about the spread of Islam to West Africa. They will learn about how different Islamic Empires were governed, from the four Caliphs to West African Kings, to the Ottomans. We have also adapted our Civil Rights Unit in Year 8 to include explicit comparisons between American and British civil rights movements and to give greater curriculum time to teach Black British History. In our units on WW1 and WW2 we have dedicated time to teach students about the vital role played by soldiers from across the British Empire and about the consequences fighting these battles had on British colonies.
Alongside this we have started to look at how we can integrate Black History more effectively into our schemes of work which focus on the Early Modern period. Having read Black Tudors by Miranda Kaufmann, we will be adding the story of ‘John Blanke, the Trumpeter’ to our KS3 unit on the Reformation, and ‘Diego, the circumnavigator’ to our GCSE curriculum when we teach Paper 2 on Elizabethan England.
Similarly to the History department, the Geography team have adapted units to teach a more inclusive and diverse curriculum. The Cairo to Cape Town unit has been redrafted to overcome misconceptions of Africa and show the complexities of different countries within Africa. We have also expanded the Urbanisation scheme of work to include a broader range of countries. Students will learn about the slums in India and Brazil, alongside Megacities in Bangladesh, India, Brazil, Pakistan and Tokyo. Finally, this unit examines Africa’s population and how it links to development, meaning that students will leave with a comprehensive understanding of the impact of globalisation on South America, Asia and Africa. Lastly, we have started to redraft our unit on Geography of the UK to focus on migration to both the UK and Stratford to give our students an appreciation of local geography in their community. We intend to look at Newham specifically and how migration here compares to the rest of the UK.
Religious studies already offers plenty of opportunity for Chobham students to reflect on the themes of diversity and inclusivity. However, in light of contemporary events, we are adapting our curriculum further to diversify and broaden the case studies examined, and to increase the relevance to Chobham students. Our unit on ‘What is love?’ has been adapted to include many examples of inspirational members of the BAME community, including Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu. Alongside this, the Year 9 scheme of work on Discrimination has been adapted to included contemporary case studies linked to the Black Lives Matter campaigns. Lastly, we have started to redraft our unit on ‘What does it mean to be Human?’ to include greater emphasis on BLM.
In Sociology we are going to incorporate Black Lives Matter into our study of postmodernism by celebrating cultural diversity. We are also adapting our lessons about social stratification to discuss how social policies are being put in place to overcome racial discrimination in society. Specifically, we are going to look into how inspirational black leaders, including Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela, lead to social change and how this could be embedded into topics such as Education and Crime and Deviance.
The main focus for Psychology is to highlight black psychologists in the topics we are studying. The plan is to put up a display of at least 10 and their area of focus. Students will be able to see behaviour patterns explained from a minority perspective. Studies will be highlighted for taking a ethnocentric view and alternative approaches will be considered. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual used for the diagnosis of depression, is seen as flawed due to its ethnocentric approach and this will be addressed when we are studying depression. The concept of cultural relativism is relevant to many psychological studies; students will be made aware of the importance of studying cultures based on that culture’s specific norms and values, rather than taking an imposed ethnic approach that generalises findings.
We are very excited about our new, more diverse curricula and welcome any feedback from students and parents or carers with regard to how we can improve these further.
Ms A Collins, Director of Learning for Humanities