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6. f. Involving Parents It is always important to involve parents in the working life of the school. Children bring an immense amount of cultural baggage with them to school each day - from parents and social circumstances within community. Some parents are suspicious of institutions. others are very involved, competitive and demanding. Regular meetings and events can be vital in enriching the creative and cultural life of the school and in strengthening their support for it. The agenda for teaching and learning we have offered here will require schools to give parents full information and understanding of what is involved Ñ and, perhaps crucially, what is not involved. Parents will need reassurance that the school priorities are right. The more they are involved, the more likely it is that learners will be able to respond fully to this agenda. In Chapter Eight we make a range of suggestions for how this involvement might be further developed.

In one of the Black Caribbean schools the curriculum was enriched by a focus on Black History which coincided with a biennial book week. Black African and Caribbean poets and story tellers were invited to work with the pupils. The response of pupils and their parents was very positive. When parentsÕ cultures are recognised by the school, their interest and involvement in the curriculum often increase dramatically. Most curriculum policies in these schools advocate an intercultural approach. In a curriculum policy on humanities for example, staff are encouraged to Òlook at Black peoplesÕ history through positive images and powerful figures rather than as victimsÓ. Information from Ofsted 1999.

g. The Ethos of the School Multicultural education should be institutionalised into school life as an attitude or value. Values stay with children far longer than items of specific information about different cultures. But both are needed. The starting point for creating a positive multicultural school ethos is to create a safe, friendly and welcoming environment with which all the children can identify, regardless of race, class, gender, language or culture. All young people need to feel secure, safe, respected and allowed to achieve and succeed. Children should feel confident to share their own cultural traditions without fear of being persecuted for them. The school environment can play a critical role, displays of childrenÕs creative work in a range of forms. Giving children responsibility for their environment through school councils and other formal and informal structures can be a vital foundation. Headteachers cannot act alone in this. They must involve all the staff, and they must provide for staff development to enable their plans to be put into practice. We come to these issues in Chapter Ten.

Teaching and Learning

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ken robinson et al 1999_all our futures  

All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education Report to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment the Secretary of State for...

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