Two (linked) messages that many of those involved in Black History Month continually emphasise are, firstly, that black history is not something to be ‘done’ in one month and, secondly, that black history is about much more than just slavery and the slave trade. Nor is black history the exclusive preserve of history teachers and history lessons. A fully diverse curriculum engages a wide range of subjects to develop all students’ knowledge and understanding of history and their sense of identity and belonging. Diverse History UK aims to “challenge prejudice, stereotypes and misconceptions by supporting schools in diversifying historical narratives and decolonising curricula.” Its founder, Rosa Legeno-Bell, is one of our changemakers, individuals in and out of education who are interested in bringing about change and improvement, especially in the lives of children and young people.
Rosa writes on her website:
But the education sector can still do so much more to challenge prejudices such as those highlighted by Black Lives Matter. This knowledge has inspired me to set up Diverse History UK, as I believe that a diverse education for all children can help to challenge damaging prejudices and stereotypes, benefiting our pupils and our whole society.Rosa Legeno-Bell
Britain is a multicultural and diverse society. I feel strongly that as educators we have a responsibility to ensure this is reflected in our curricula. I am passionate about the implementation of curricula that combine academic rigour in the classroom and promote a happier and more harmonious society.
I know from experience that it is possible to include a truly diverse curriculum looking at some lesser told narratives from around the globe, all within the constraints of the National Curriculum.
Diverse History UK wants to help schools to move away from single story narratives and towards teaching more inclusive and honest global histories.
As well as supporting the teaching of lesser-known narratives, Diverse History UK also champions teaching and learning that challenges “popular narratives” (I take this to mean narratives that are either simplistic, selective, circumscribed, misleading or some combination thereof). For example, the exemplar resources section of the website offers schemes of work such as How can the history of pre-colonial Africa negate the myth of the ‘dark continent’? and What light can be shed on the attitudes of Victorian society by the Jack the Ripper murders?
There is a link to the Diverse History UK website at the foot of this article.
In our blog Music can help children to learn about history and identity we argued that music “is also an avenue for children to develop and deepen their knowledge and understanding of black history.”
In our blog We need to teach black history properly, and not just in October we argued that “only a fully diversified curriculum will properly present positive black role models to young people.”
We have also (rather boldly!) argued that History in schools can heal divisions and create a more tolerant society: “we believe that the study of history should give children a sense of what makes British society what it is today and their place in it. They should learn that they are part of a country with a rich and vibrant history.”
Are you a changemaker? Are you passionate about wanting to build a better future for our children? If so, we would love to feature you on our Changemakers page. Not only that. Why not contribute a ‘guest’ blogpost to our website, setting out your ideas on the changes that you would like to see?
We are keen to feature blogposts written by fellow changemakers. LBL is about educating our children. But changemakers are people from all walks of life — not just the world of education — who see a connection or congruence between Life-Based Learning and their own work and life interests.
By the nature of their work with children, the thinking of many of those who feature on our Changemakers page resonates with aspects of the LBL programme for children up to the age of 12 (or thereabouts). These people are changemakers working at the cutting edge of children’s learning.
Other changemakers, experts in their own area of work or interest, are engaged in activity with adults that adds value to LBL’s primary aim to repurpose children’s learning. Educationists can learn from these people.
Contact us using the link below.