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Edge Hill academic receives the Diversity and Inclusion: Brenda Eastwood Award 2022

Publish date: June 22, 2022

An education expert from Edge Hill University has won a prestigious award for good practice in teaching for diversity and inclusion.

Senior Lecturer in English and Education Dr Ian Cushing was recognised with The Diversity and Inclusion: Brenda Eastwood Award, for his research into language education in schools.

The panel of judges recognised Dr Cushing’s work for the positive impact it has had on education and diversity in schools.

Dr Ian Cushing said: “It’s a real honour to have received the Brenda Eastwood Award and have my work recognised in this way. My work examines language and inequality in schools, with a particular focus on how policies concerned with language are shaped by beliefs about what constitutes the most improper or correct ways of talking. Sadly, it’s typically children of colour from low-income families who get labelled in negative ways, and so it’s these children who have their language policed and get placed into remedial programmes.

“I think it’s important for educators to shift the way they listen rather than asking young people to shift the way they speak. There’s a lot of harm caused by educators and policy makers who fail to recognise the remarkable linguistic capabilities that all children have.”

Dr Cushing’s research focuses on anti-racist practices and interrogates the role of language discrimination. He examines language and inequality with a focus on raciolinguistic ideologies.

Much of his work challenges current education policies, including those of Ofsted, in major recent research he published with his colleague Dr Julia Snell at the University of Leeds. His aim is to develop anti-racist and anti-discrimination pedagogies which look to foster and sustain the language and cultural practices of marginalised children.

To achieve this, he works collaboratively with teachers, children and artists in order to bring about systematic changes in language education policy which holds government policy makers to account.

Dr Cushing receives funding from the Spencer Foundation, the UK Literacy Association and the British Educational Research Association.

Both Dr Cushing and fellow award winner Aaishah Rauf will share an aspect of their practice at the UKLA International Conference on Saturday 2 July.

The judging panel were Janet Douglas Gardner (chair), Dr Christine Callender, Dr Liz Chamberlain, Dr Sabine Little, Shaheen Parekh, Dr Cheryl Diane Parkinson, Elizabeth Robertson, Farrah Serroukh.

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