Racism is everywhere

Before my lecture on racism, I always thought the minority of people were racist, because it was rare for people to verbally and physically attack people, due to their race. However, it wasn’t until this lecture that I realised how complex racism is.

Firstly, I learnt that cultural and institutional racism does impact peoples’ individual opinions and stereotypes. For instance, our culture negatively stereotypes ethnic groups; resulting in our individual opinions being affected, e.g. our culture normalises the idea that ethnic groups are trying to steal our jobs and don’t contribute financially to our society. Where in fact ethnic groups are usually filling rejected and unwanted jobs in our local area, whilst still having to pay taxes. Furthermore, our society has indirectly embedded racism into our institutions; for example, a black individual may be charged with a harsher sentence, despite committing the same crime as a white individual. Both types of racism are causing us as individuals to unintentionally discriminate against marginalised groups.

Also, this lecture reminded me of how racism is still a widespread problem. By reading further I was taught that even in the business and political world, ethnic groups must try twice as hard to be as successful or powerful, as white individuals. For example, the UK parliament are dominated by a white population and LORD Ouseley said, “Minority ethnicities can’t break through the white executive network, to get top jobs.”

Additionally, it was brought to my attention that racism is still a problem within our educational institutions today. A teacher’s microaggressions, often result in white pupils getting more attention and help, than pupils with different skin colours. I found it worrying that our unconscious bias could even impact how we divide our time as teachers. Moreover, after this lecture I did further research and discovered that only 1% of British children’s books feature a main character who is black or from a minority ethnic group. This shows how our society still portrays the black population as inferior to the white.

This lecture has inspired me to actively fight against racism within education, by trying to make myself more aware of my unconscious biases; then hopefully I will be able to reduce any form of racial discrimination, in my classes that I attend and teach in.

How to overcome structural inequalities…

On Tuesday afternoon, I attended an interactive seminar; the class was split into four groups and each group was given an envelope with resources in it. The task was to plan and make a product out of the items within the envelope; and then finally pitch the product to the class. The task for my group seemed simple and straightforward, as we had a full envelope that contained: coloured card; coloured pens; scissors; post-it notes; blue tac; paperclips and tape. My group decided to make a university handbook, it was easy to produce because of the vast number of products we had to make it. Furthermore, the lecturer was captivated by our product and encouraged my group by telling us, “Your product is my favourite.” and “This is a great idea!” This positive feedback from the lecturer made us feel reassured that we had produced a sound product, which inevitably made us feel extremely confident.

Additionally, it wasn’t until the end of the seminar that the lecturer explained that another group that was trying to complete the same task, only had a few resources to produce their product. Despite being at a disadvantage the group was able to create a recyclable pencil case. However, the lecturer spoke very negatively about their product and barely engaged with their group; this caused the group to lack confidence in their own ability and product.

This experience opened my eyes to the amount of inequalities that can take place in a classroom; ranging from unequally giving out resources, to favouring one group over another. Also, it taught me some valuable lessons about how it’s important to treat every pupil fairly, because how you treat a child can affect the outcome of their work and individual confidence. When thinking on a wider scale, I now understand that more affluent schools, families and communities may be more successful due to the resources available to them; however in areas of deprivation it’s less likely for people to succeed because they don’t have all the resources they require.

After this class I was intrigued to find out more about the expected standards of a teacher, so I did further research on the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) website. I came across ‘The Standard for Provisional Registration (SPR)’ section, the first point focuses on ‘Learning for Sustainability’ the text describes the importance of equipping schools and communities to make wise decisions, that will help to sustain the future of our earth in an equitable way. This could be fulfilled by teaching people to respect and nurture their local environment; for example, by reducing the amount of waste they produce. Secondly, they focus on ‘Leadership for Learning’ where it insists that teachers should be continually learning new information, to improve their own knowledge and hopefully that will encourage students and members of the community to do the same. Finally, I believe SPR is important as it helps teachers to know what their required qualities and capabilities are.

Overall from this workshop I learnt that a teacher’s unfair and inequitable attitude, can impact an individual very negatively. Therefore, it’s essential that as future educators of young people, that we appreciate and respect everyone’s views and experiences, by treating them all equally.

Teachers make the world a better place

Every time I tell people I want to be a primary school teacher they always ask, “Why? Children are crazy, hyperactive and annoying.” However, I always remind them that there are many benefits to being a primary school teacher, for example it’s a very rewarding job, no day is ever the same and of course, the long summer holidays.

From the age of about 8 I always knew I wanted to work within the education sector, because as a child I loved learning new information, attending after school clubs and playing with friends. Despite loving the social and intellectual aspect of school, as I grew up I noticed many inequalities and faults within our education system. One major problem is the attainment gap, the fact that a child’s family income and background can affect a child’s future is not acceptable. I’ve seen on countless occasions children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds being left to struggle to do their school work alone, whilst other peers had private tutors for support. I strongly believe all schools should have a support system in place; where all pupils, especially those that don’t get help at home, are able to receive free educational support.

Another reason I want to be a teacher is to empower women. Women for centuries have lived in a patriarchal society, where their opportunities have been limited; they’ve been expected to cook, clean and look after the children. However, I want to ensure that this outlook on women is completely removed, ensuring that women are given equal opportunities in education, the workplace and society.

Finally, children of today will make up our future politicians, lawyers and doctors; therefore, it’s essential that we invest in each individual child, to unleash their full potential.


Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your ePortfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The ePortfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

You can pull in a YouTube video:

You can pull in a Soundcloud audio track:

You can upload an image or pull one in from Flickr or any other image sharing site.

Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

You can just about pull in anything that you think will add substance and depth to your writing.