Is the English school curriculum white? British Values curriculum policy and colonial discourses: The case of Geography

14th Jan 2019, 12:45pm - 2:00pm

Faculty of Education

Is the English school curriculum white? British Values curriculum policy and colonial discourses: The case of Geography Dr Christine Winter, University of Sheffield

This presentation draws on a recent curriculum policy in English schools, Promoting Fundamental British Values (BV), to disrupt colonial discourses in a popular school GCSE Geography text. British Values policy forms part of the British Government’s anti-terrorism policy ‘Prevent’. Schools are required by law to actively promote BV, including tolerance and harmony between different cultural traditions, appreciation of and respect for other cultures and a balance of opposing political views. The inquiry examines a textbook chapter for evidence that may support or challenge these goals. I construct a methodology to analyse textbook pages about global development. The analysis reveals three key problematical concepts: ‘development’, ‘numerical indicators’ and ‘learning to divide the world’. At first, the analysis illuminates an incompatibility between BV policy goals of ‘respect’, ‘tolerance’, and ‘harmony’ and the ‘white curriculum’ of the Geography textbook. But, further probing signals BV policy as another example of white colonial power.

Christine Winter is Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, University of Sheffield, where she co-directs the Centre for Critical Psychology and Education. Her research focuses on the school curriculum with specific interests in curriculum knowledge, politics, policy and practice. She is Deputy Director of the Education, Childhood and Youth Pathway of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership, a post graduate training consortium across seven Northern Universities. She recently published, with China Mills: ‘The Psy-Security-Curriculum ensemble: British Values curriculum policy in English schools’ in Journal of Education Policy.

Programme

  • 12:45 – Refreshments
  • 13:00 – Seminar
  • 13:40 – Q&A

Details of all the department’s Seminars are available here