Doharty, Nadena (2017) Black History Month and Black History with Key Stage 3 Students in English Secondary Schools: A Critical Race Theory Approach. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to explore Key Stage 3 (KS3) students’ experiences of Black History Month (BHM) and Black History (BH) with a particular focus on African and Caribbean students in two English secondary schools. African and Caribbean students are focused upon because they have consistently been problematised in political discourse as an underachieving group, and academic studies reveal they experience studying history negatively. This thesis is set within the context of challenges associated with teaching ‘Black’ children in English schools since the 1950s and, changes to the history curriculum in 2013 which means schools no longer have to teach BH.

At Limehart Secondary School, 25 students and three history teachers participated in the research. At Parsley High School, 23 students and one history teacher participated in the research. The empirical research was split into two phases. Firstly, I conducted participant observations during BHM/BH lessons and events. Secondly, I conducted focus groups and interviews with KS3 students and their history teachers. These methods were employed to understand the current institutional pedagogies for teaching BHM/BH, what KS3 students and their history teachers understand the purpose of BHM/BH to be, how students of African and Caribbean descent experience BHM/BH and, to what extent Black students have individual or collective agency to determine the approach to BHM/BH.

Drawing on Critical Race Theory, the key findings suggest that racism is a normal and embedded feature of the history curriculum including BHM/BH. As BH was never fully integrated at both schools, engagement with it was reduced to a compensatory and deficitinformed approach. This created a racialised and hierarchical understanding about Britain’s past and who should be defined as British. The originality of this thesis is achieved by positioning in-depth accounts of Black students’ negative experiences of studying BHM/BH, within wider institutional and ideological racisms.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2017 15:56
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2017 13:44
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/4111

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