Global Histories Project
Decolonising the History Curriculum
In January 2020 RISC submitted a funding proposal to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this project. Due to Covid-19, the Heritage Lottery cancelled all applications.
Why this project?
- Children, young people, educators and the community in the UK need to develop understanding of the historical economic, political and social legacies of Britain and Europe’s colonial histories.
- The national curriculum is lacking in its exploration of colonial world history, and the relationship to modern Britain.
- Many teachers recognise that the lack of understanding of colonial history limits the discussion on contemporary debates around migration and racism.
- The current history curriculum has a particular detrimental impact on pupils of colour and their experiences of prejudice and discrimination.
- Many teachers, parents and pupils are keen to develop a more ethnically diverse history curriculum and one which reflects their ethnically diverse pupil population.
- People of colour in the UK who have heritage related to former colonised countries are often racialised as ‘not belonging’ in the UK/Europe. The project will foster a sense of belonging and identity through a fuller understanding of colonial history and equip young people to navigate the contemporary racialised landscape.
- School communities will develop an understanding of shared histories, increasing a sense of belonging and community cohesion and tackling inequities, prejudice and discrimination.
What RISC will do
- Work with a group of History teachers in Reading to develop the history curriculum.
- Develop high quality secondary and primary teaching resources to be shared nationally.
- Training will cover:
- Teaching difficult and sensitive issues in multi-ethnic classrooms
- Engaging with knowledge and experiences in the local community
- Developing colonial history subject knowledge.
RISC have a 30 year history of delivering training and support to schools as well as producing high quality teaching resources so are well placed to deliver this project.
quality or quantity
tracking changes in pupils’ attitudes
Teachers are used to measuring their impact on knowledge, understanding and skills, but values and attitudes can sometimes be left unmonitored. Good Global Education balances knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, to produce a well rounded education.
Expanding on previous research into values and attitudes in Global Education, we have worked with teachers, student teachers and their tutors to develop ways of finding out how pupils’ attitudes and actions can change.
The 3-year project, funded by the European Commission saw us working with partner organisations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ireland, Ethiopia and the South East of England, the project involved 16 universities, hundreds of schools and thousands of pupils in this exciting and ground-breaking work.
This innovative methodology for measuring attitudinal change enables teachers to take a more systematic approach to discovering attitudes and values, and to measure the impact of their teaching.
Understanding Islam: Challenging Islamophobia is a project run by RISC in partnership with the Centre for World Education (CMO) in Nijmegen, Netherlands.
In 2010 the Exploring Islam Foundation commissioned YouGov to survey public perceptions of Islam, Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad. A majority (60%) of the 2152 respondents said they didn’t know very much about Islam and obtained most of their information about Islam from the TV news (57%) or newspapers (41%) rather than directly from Muslim organisations. Perceptions were generally negative:
- 50% associate Islam with terrorism
- 13% associate Islam with peace and 6% with justice
- 16% think that Islam promotes fairness and equality
- 41% disagree or strongly disagree that Muslims have a positive impact on British society
- 69% believe that Islam encourages the repression of women.
Many organisations are trying to challenge these misconceptions by raising awareness of the belief, practice, history and cultures of Islam, and highlighting the contribution of Muslims to society.
challenging islamophobia web portal
RISC has created a web portal for teachers and facilitators who want to challenge Islamophobia. The materials are suitable for Key Stage 3-4+ as well as youth and community groups.
The portal brings together resources that offer innovative and creative approaches for dealing with controversial issues that will engage young people. It shows how every area of the curriculum offers possibilities to explore alternative perspectives on the role of Islam in Britain and the wider world.
"I increasingly feel that ignorance of both Muslim culture and the faith of Islam is in danger of radicalising many sections of society. Ignorance is reinforced by a general lack of interaction between mono-ethnic communities that often results in many children growing up in parallel societies. Prejudice, rather than informed understanding, is then shaping many attitudes." Muhammad Imran, Islamic Relief
The Understanding Islam: Challenging Islamophobia project has received funding from the European Union's Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme, although the views expressed within do not necessarily reflect its official policy.
initial teacher training
university of reading institute of education
RISC has worked in partnership with Reading ITT tutors for over ten years. Within the BA (QTS) Primary Education RISC works with tutors to support the embedding of Global Citizenship within their courses. Art, English, Music and Maths specialisms all include a focus on Global Citizenship, with RISC delivering sessions to first and second year undergraduates.
On the Primary PGCE course RISC has delivered 3 Global Citizenship sessions for all Primary PGCE students: an introductory day followed up with feedback and discussion of cross-curricular project planning, a subject focused activity day, and a half day on strategies for evaluation.
A Global Citizenship lead lecture is now an established feature of the Secondary PGCE Professional Studies course for all trainees. Tutors are working with RISC to build on this and embed Global Citizenship in the Science, Art & Design, Music and English subject specialisms. In addition, RISC offers a small number of two-week placements to trainees who have successfully completed their standards in the summer term – we encourage trainees from all specialisms to apply. RISC also provides Global Citizenship training for Early Years specialists, and for trainees on a range of routes into teaching, including School Direct Training.
University of Oxford Department of Education
RISC's partnership with OUDE was first established in 2002. Global Citizenship training takes place annually for all the OUDE Science and Geography PGCE trainees. Issues are initially introduced by tutors who accompany trainees on a day of workshops at RISC focusing on how to embed Global Citizenship in secondary Science and Geography. Further follow up takes place at OUDE in the weeks following this intensive input.
Oxford Brookes University School of Education
RISC has delivered Global Citizenship training for Oxford Brookes tutors and students since our partnership began in 2003. In the first year of their BA Primary Teacher Education course, the importance of Global Citizenship is established, through introductory sessions at the University. A curriculum-focused day at RISC takes place in the next term and is followed up at the university. Students develop their understanding of Global Citizenship in their second and third years, with RISC providing further input and support.
whole school change
Alongside providing a service for schools across Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey, RISC works intensively with some schools to support teachers in embedding Global Citizenship across their curriculum and school ethos. The teachers’ aim to empower their pupils to be active citizens, willing and able to contribute to the development of a fair, sustainable society, locally and globally. This work involves auditing pupils’ knowledge and attitudes about global issues, in order to measure change and gauge the impact teachers are having.
Once change is achieved, maintaining it while sharing methodologies and resources is key to ensuring the change is sustained across the school.
The following case studies show how different schools have tackled ethos change in their schools. Whether department by department, embedding Global Citizenship in whole school policies, or exploring school activities beyond the curriculum, each has brought about a shift in the attitude and ethos of the school.