NASUWT Senior Vice-President Michelle Codrington-Rodgers spoke in favour of the resolution on Decolonising the Curriculum, began by quoting Marcus Garvey who said ‘a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots’.
She argued that the curriculum that is taught in the UK is ‘still grounded in the empire of happy
natives, waiting to be rescued from ‘primitive’ cultures’ and reminded
Congress that the Indigenous Peoples Caucus stated that a way to rebuild this
identity ‘by teaching children and young
people to know who do I belong to?’.
Michelle stated that ‘decolonising
the curriculum takes a big step towards giving back the sense of belonging’,
that ‘it makes us walk taller, and talk
with confidence, it helps us find our voice because we know we belong’.
She said that as educators ‘we need to be given the knowledge to teach in the classroom to rebalance
the curriculum’, ‘the texts we use
and the training we get’, concluding that we need to engage with indigenous
and minority communities ‘given them a
voice, listen to them and empower them to share their stories, their history
NASUWT Principal Official Chris Weavers spoke in support of the
resolution on Education for Refugees.
He pointed out that 75 million children and young people
across the world have had their education affected by conflict, natural
disasters or criminal violence. He argued that for these children education is ‘an
absolute necessity’, and without the right to education many children are left
vulnerable to exploitation.
Chris highlighted the NASUWT’s Refugee Welcome Schools
project, supported by EI, that has helped bring about greater understanding and
support for refugee children and their families.
He concluded by calling on the international community to
ensure refugee children’s rights and argued that we must all be bolder in
advocating their rights and security.
On Thursday afternoon EI President Susan Hopgood announced that Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA) Vice-President Jalila al Salman had won the Mary Hatwood Futrell award for human and trade union rights.
Jalila has campaigned for trade union and human rights in Bahrain since 2011, and has been subject to torture and imprisonment by Bahraini authorities.
The NASUWT has stood in solidarity with Jalila and Mahdi Abu Dheeb, the BTA President since 2011. Jalila is a previous recipient of the NASUWT International Solidarity Award.
The NASUWT held a seminar on Teachers’ Mental Health and Wellbeing, with guests the AFT, at an Educator’s Lounge session on Thursday afternoon.
National Treasurer Russ Walters opened the session by
highlighting the work that the NASUWT had done in this area and the importance
of ensuring that teachers were supported by their unions.
National Official Gareth Young presented the data from the NASUWT’s Big Question on the issue since the first survey in 2011. He highlighted the impact on teachers of their jobs and of excessive workload, leading to stress, lack of control and that this was a direct cause of the recruitment and retention crisis in UK schools.
Marietta A. English, Executive Vice-President of the AFT
raised issues of stress and wellbeing in the USA, highlighting disturbing case
studies involving violence affecting teachers and education support personnel.
The panel heard from colleagues across the globe describing the toil that the job was taking on their mental health.
Russ Walters concluded the session by reminding unions of the
importance of taking action and of empowering teachers to say ‘no’!