In this Think Piece, John Morgan explores the issues surrounding the teaching of diversity in geography. From the start, he notes that this is one of the most difficult areas for new geography teachers to engage with and new teachers are sometimes overwhelmed by the prospect that they have a responsibility for the teaching of diversity when it is very clear that society as a whole has yet to tackle these issues. The educational task for those involved in the education of geography teachers is, therefore, to promote an awareness of the issues and encourage a thoughtful and reflective approach.
The resource starts with a reflection on the challenges of teaching about diversity prompted by the publication of the Curriculum Review: Diversity and Citizenship (DfES, 2007) - see web link below. The review was commissioned:
'in response to a growing debate about whether UK society engages with issues around 'race', religion, culture, identity and values... in a way that meets the needs of all pupils. Do we, as individuals and as a nation, respect each others differences and build on commonalities? Do we appreciate our own and others' distinct identities?'
These are important questions, and they have a geographical dimension. The Review says that pupils should be able to explore and understand the whole range of their own identities - personal, local, national and global, as well as those of the wider community.
This resource contains a variety of activities and suggested further reading for those teachers wanting to develop a deeper understanding of this topic. Although the resource is designed for teacher professional development, there is a great deal of scope for adapting the suggested activities into classroom use, for example:
These activities are as equally relevant to teachers of all key stages, both Primary and Secondary.
- Does Britain have ghettos?
Using Census data available from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/glance/ (follow the neighbourhood link) teachers can ask students to plot data in a simple GIS such as Aegis3 to look for spatial patterns.
- Using imagery
A second possible classroom activity would be to select a range of images using a search engine with a number of different search terms e.g. immigrant, refugee, asylum seeker, etc. and use these photo sets to stimulate discussion amongst the pupils. A wide range of activities could be developed using such a resource.