The HOPE not hate team provide speakers to schools and colleges on all the issues we are involved in. Please contact us on [email protected] to find out more.
The Cultural Exchange
The lack of opportunities to experience or get involved with different cultures can often breed serious ignorance, which can lead to harmful prejudice if left unchecked. HOPE not hate is all too aware of this and was delighted to be able to team up with Ringwood School in Hampshire to get involved with their Cultural Exchange ... read more
New Education team helps schools challenge prejudice and understand far-right signs and threats
posted by: Owen Jones | on: Friday, 3 March 2017, 18:01
Young people have more inclusive views than ever, but can still struggle with understanding prejudice and inequality; schools also need to understand the threat posed by the far right – part of the challenges being met by our new Education team.
Since the hate crime spike witnessed after last summer’s Referendum, HOPE not hate has witnessed an unprecedented demand to speak to young people in schools and their teachers about the challenges of racism and the need to promote more inclusive environments.
Starting with pilot testing last year, this year we’ve begun delivering workshops and talks to schools around the country – all free of charge, thanks to a generous grant.
Our research shows that young people have more inclusive views than ever, and embrace multiculturalism much for enthusiastically than previous generations. Which is great news. But our work is still cut out for us, and the anti-racism (and other -isms) message needs to up its game with young people.
Racism/sexism/homophobia are all ‘bad’ and young people know that. But aside from these core themes, do they really understand what prejudice means on a day-to-day level? Do they understand the use of lazy language, how inequality often starts from birth, and that there are other embedded historical structures in society that prevent genuine equality between genders, ethnic groups and other minorities struggling for holistic acceptance in today’s Britain?
Could they even (unwittingly) be contributing to these inequalities or prejudice without realising…?
These are the issues and lessons we debate in schools today and we’re keen to have those debates – with a certain degree of urgency, too.
During the Spring half-term a room full of education professionals met in central London from the across the country for the launch of our brand new education programme, looking to address those issues above, as well as hear our expertise on dealing with stereotypes and educating around the far right.
The group was presented with HOPE not hate’s vision for the project – a three-layered programme covering harmful language, far-right awareness and teacher training – as well as our plan of taking our skills from community organising right into the classroom, offering schools a very different experience to other charities in this sector.
It was wonderful to be able to tap into the huge amount of high-class experience in the room, to help us tailor the programmes and messaging to be as useful to schools as possible across the different educational key stages. This was followed by a fascinating debate about the differing nature the nature of the problems and threats faced around the country.
We are now proud to have an advisory board chaired by an Ofsted-rated educational specialist (and long-term HOPE not hate volunteer), which will help us keep up-to-date with what is occurring in British classrooms and ensure that we continue to tailor and improve our offerings to the educational sector.
Our future plans include “Train the Trainer” classes for teachers around the country and further developing our work with sport, to making it as engaging as we can for students with different learning styles.
Owen Jones is Head of Education at HOPE not hate
If you’re a teacher or educational specialist interested in learning more about our Education team’s work, please contact us: [email protected]
Harlow Gets Serious on Discriminatory Language
In November 2015 in the Essex town of Harlow, HOPE not hate carried out one of it's largest regional training events to date, training just over 500 employees of the Essex County Council/Burnt Mill Trust in twelve 45 minute back-to-back sessions, in order to cut down the size of the groups so that each session could be as interactive as possible.
Built in 1955, Harlow is one of Essex's two New Town developments designed to rehouse blitzed London families after the Second World War, a legacy that still remains with the town having the third-highest proportion of social housing in England. Harlow has come on a long way since the 1950s and now boasts major transport links to London via the Stansted Express and M11, which has attracted new industry and workers looking to live outside of the city; along with this has been a change in the social demographics of the town.
Although the demographics are changing, certain attitudes have been slow to keep up, and HOPE not hate was brought in to start a serious dialogue with the local educational sector as it was feared that discriminatory language was being passed down the generations and affecting the community and local school environment.
Working within the town, HOPE not hate was quickly aware of many people from the town, who although not racist themselves, were certainly confused about what are considered racist terms, largely through a lack of understanding and right-wing media slamming the overuse of “PC” terms.
During the day, HOPE not hate very successful created a safe space, where people could feel encouraged to air their opinions and confusions. For the first time in many of these peoples' lives we were able to have a frank discussion about the impact and consequences of “casual” racism so that they could have a clear understanding of the damage it does on the community rather than just being told it is wrong. Finally, each session summed up with a discussion about how language can reinforce oppression on an individual level.
Teri-Leigh, an English & Media teacher commented that “the training made the participants really think about the impact of language; most of us are conscious of the impact of our words so choose them carefully, but how you can change until you change until you really understand what is acceptable?&lrquo;
This was just a start of the discussion in Harlow. We are already in talks with the Burnt Mill group about two more events to further develop understanding about discrimination.