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This book is about what teachers need to know before they teach history to students of color. It is a book about the ‘inside feel’ of these students and what they think and say history is for, based on research in the United States with reflections on the United Kingdom. It gives history teachers a better understanding of why culturally relevant pedagogy, inclusion and issues surrounding diversity are of crucial importance if we are to reach these students. We live in a world where many multicultural students think they have little connection with the histories, traditions and values in which they have grown up, some look toward groups who promise them a sense of belonging and ownership of created histories which clash with and threaten democratic societies. This book begins with the belief that it is important to understand how a subject, history, makes non-White students think and feel about themselves. At its center are assertions made by students of color who think learning history that is rich in aspects they can connect with culturally and personally, is important and necessary in gaining and holding their attention. Then I make suggestions of how we best communicate and set high expectations for these students, how as history teachers we use strategies to better engage these students, and redirect the unengaged. We need to make sure history educators provide necessary and appropriate scaffolding for students of colour to better process what they learn in history lessons, making sure they are engaged in higher-order thinking in an equitable safe environment where they see and know that their diversities are respected and valued.
At a time when populist movements have gained ground across the globe and migrants have taken center stage as unwanted pariahs in the eyes of many, this book dares to tackle a culturally relevant threat, much talked about but seldom systematically uncovered or analyzed: the socio-cultural domination that permeates the minds of many Black students in the United Kingdom as they negotiate between what they learn as history at school and their lived experiences and expectations. Kay Traille shed light on this visible invisible specter and uncovers the rich tapestry of forgotten ordinary histories that should make societies richer and better. Using the words of students, teachers, government reports and fictional narratives this book challenges the audience to place themselves into this historical stream of culture to better understand and teach black students. Through the means of critical race theory, social constructivism and aspects of social constructionism, a narrative approach and personal experiences the author excavates points of personal connection through the gateway of stories to enter worlds and make meaning. Traille points out the study of history is socially constructed and not impartial academic information and most history teachers in the United Kingdom are White, female and middle class and increasingly the students they teach are not, undoubtedly making for cultural dissonance between students and teachers. Furthermore, students and teachers knowingly and unwittingly grapple with silent vivid racist experiences in and outside of the classroom that bleed into history lessons. The way students are socialized and taught may impact on their ability to function with alternative narratives or participate as active and engaged contributors to democratic life. This book invites the audience to uncover and acknowledge cultural biases, oppressive power relationships and dominating epistemologies to emerge better equipped to plan for and teach these students, allowing them to know they are valued and an integral part of British society.