ED4995: Choose a racism incident research it, including not just the incident itself but what you can about the community in which the incident took place and relevant policies and legislation. Education Across Culturally Diverse Contexts assignment
Module / Subject / School:
ED4995 Education Across Culturally Diverse Contexts
James Cook University
As agents of socialisation, schools are responsible not only for providing students with a sense of the content knowledge deemed important by the state but it also becomes a conduit through which ideas about race and racism are transmitted, reinscribed, and (sometimes) contested. Moreover, schools continue to be spaces where conversations of race and racism are often difficult to have or they are evaded altogether (Pearce, 2014). Consider the following incidents:
1. Students at a high school in Cairns were punished (told to “stay home”) for protesting against their experiences of racism (March, 2021);
2. Year 5 and 6 students in Sydney, learning about rights and freedoms, created posters about what they knew of injustice which included notes about Black Lives Matter and police violence against racialized non-white peoples. The NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning called for a review into the issue to see if disciplinary action was warranted (April, 2021);
3. A Year 4 student, interpreting the (old) national anthem lyrics as racist, refused to stand on the grounds that it misrepresented the history of Australia by celebrating the accomplishments of white people. They were given detention for their peaceful protest (September, 2018).
Incidents such as these highlight the continuing challenges of talking about racism in ways that are meaningful, considered, and critical, in part because schools are designed to punish dissent and deviance (ie. what each of the students/groups in the examples above were accused of and subject to).
Your task here is to pick one of the incidents above, or a different one of your choosing that you run by your lecturer/tutor, and research it, including not just the incident itself but what you can about the community in which the incident took place and relevant policies and legislation. With this insight, you are to produce the following:
1. Community and policy/legislation context: Provide a brief overview of the community in which the incident took place and any policies and/or legislation relevant to the incident. Here, you are to select and speak to those that you think are the most relevant and best demonstrate your ability to recognise the relevant ‘components’ of the community and policies to know for such a discussion [300-400 words].
2. Discussion with Students: Imagining that you were a teacher at the school where this incident happened, produce a short writeup that outlines how you would discuss the issue with students on the day of the incident. For example, imagine that you hear students talking about it and you, as an ethically minded and critically oriented teacher, want to take up this ‘incident’ as an opportunity to discuss the issue [600-700 words]. Your writeup must:
a. Make explicit reference to the QCT Code of Ethics as a demonstration of how you plan to meet your ethical obligations in and through this conversation.
b. Include theory and research used/discussed in this subject, as well as any relevant policy and legislation.
3. Letter to Parents: You will write a letter that you would send home to the parents/carers of the students after your discussion, outlining what you discussed and why. Here, you must demonstrate:
a. Appropriate written conventions with respect to the audience (ie. write a letter that is carer appropriate)
b. How you would respond, carefully, to the needs and (presumed) concerns of parents [500-700 words].
A focus here should be on translating the ideas we’ve discussed in class for an audience of carers/parents. Remember that, for instance, many people have rather limited views of race and racism so careful explanation of any language will be required (in a way that isn’t patronising).
What we score:
Our Writer’s Comment
This assignment tests students on their understanding of key principles .
Based on the assignment requirements provided, here are some comments to help students score well on this assignment:
- Community and Policy/Legislation Context: When discussing the incident you have chosen, provide a brief overview of the community where it took place, including any relevant policies and legislation. Select and emphasize the components that are most relevant to the incident and showcase your ability to recognize their significance. Aim to present this information in around 300-400 words, focusing on the key factors that contribute to the incident and its broader context.
- Discussion with Students: Imagine yourself as a teacher at the school where the incident occurred and write a short reflection on how you would discuss the issue with students on the day it happened. In this write-up of approximately 600-700 words, consider the following points: a. QCT Code of Ethics: Explicitly reference the QCT Code of Ethics to demonstrate your commitment to meeting your ethical obligations during the conversation. Explain how you will create a safe and inclusive environment for discussing sensitive topics related to race and racism. b. Theory, Research, and Policy/Legislation: Incorporate theories, research, and policies discussed in the subject to inform your discussion with students. Show how these sources enhance your understanding of the incident and help foster critical thinking among students. Highlight the relevance of academic knowledge in addressing real-life issues.
- Letter to Parents: Compose a letter that you would send to the parents/carers of the students after the discussion, outlining what was discussed and why. When writing the letter, consider the following aspects: a. Appropriate Written Conventions: Adhere to appropriate written conventions, tailoring the letter to the intended audience (the parents/carers). Use language that is accessible and respectful, ensuring that the information is presented in a clear and concise manner. b. Addressing Needs and Concerns: Respond sensitively to the needs and presumed concerns of the parents/carers. Acknowledge potential limitations or misconceptions regarding race and racism that they may have. Provide clear explanations of relevant terms and concepts without being patronizing.
Remember to maintain a balanced approach, promoting open dialogue and understanding while respecting different perspectives.
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