Ethnicity, Race and Racism Seminar

11th Feb 2016, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Faculty of Education

white discomfort

‘White discomfort’ and the Gated Community of Enquiry: Desegregating Philosophy for Children’ – Dr Darren Chetty, UCL Institute of Education

This paper will explore some key issues to do with ‘race’, multiculturalism and pluralism in the context of philosophy for/with children (P4C).

It will interweave autobiographical vignettes with analytic sections that draw upon philosophical writing to support the speakers  argument that teachers of P4C are informed by the philosophical, the pedagogical and the personal and that reflection on the relationship between these three dimensions should form part of the education of P4C practitioners.

It will focus in particular on the notion of discomfort, and will argue that the ability and willingness, to work with discomfort is perhaps one of the key dispositions required for teaching philosophy in a racially diverse setting (and indeed elsewhere). However, it will argue that, in situations where a white teacher is working with a racially diverse group of students, such a disposition is not sufficient, for it does not carry with it a commitment on behalf of the teacher to actually address what Charles Mills terms “White Ignorance”. Common in the P4C literature, and the literature around progressive/child-centred learning is the idea that the teacher learns from the students. Darren is sympathetic to this idea and believes in working to remain open to learning from those with relatively less power in the classroom. However, he questions an approach where teachers implicitly see their students as the solution to their own ignorance.

Darren is currently completing his PhD in Philosophy for Children and race at the UCL Institute of Education, where he teaches on the BA Education Studies. He is the recipient of The Biennial Award for Excellence in Philosophy for Children from the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC) for his paper “The Elephant in the Room: Picturebooks, Philosophy for Children and Racism.” Darren taught in London primary schools for almost 20 years.

He convenes the HipHopEd Seminar series which brings together teachers, hip-hop artists, youth-workers, poets, and academics to discuss the intersection of hip-hop culture and education.

This event is part of a new series on ‘Education’ organised by EHU’s Ethnicity, Race, and Racism Seminar for 2015/2016.

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Further information is available here