The North East Education team were in Joseph Swan Academy working with year 8 pupils
"How come the media can say something and people believe it without evidence? I don’t think that’s fair"
Year 8 student from Joseph Swan Academy
On Tuesday the 7th July Joseph Swan Academy, Gateshead, was the destination for five members of the North East education team. The team consisting of experienced education workers and reinforced with ex-professional footballers arrived at the Gateshead school to carry out anti-racism workshops with students from year 8.
Throughout the day six different classes of pupils from year 8 took part in activities led by Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) which encouraged them to safely reflect on the power of stereotypes and assumptions and consider their relevance in providing a foundation for the development of prejudice.
Education Workers Tina Simbo and Justine King conducted these classroom workshops to the young people of Joseph Swan Academy. The discussion throughout the time spent in the classroom were full of engagement due to two factors, firstly, Education Workers Tina and Justine explained and emphasised the safe, non-judgemental environment the year 8’s were in, which laid the foundations to a successful classroom workshop. Secondly, the willingness of young people to contribute to discussions and their keen enthusiasm to individually input their ideas.
Parents, teachers, relatives, law, friends, social media and books were just a few examples that came from the year 8’s when asked to discuss what creates their ‘World View’. Once the year 8’s had established where they thought their world view came from, they then progressed to complete an exercise titled ‘new neighbours’. In small groups the children worked through the activity before engaging in a classroom discussion which examined stereotypes and pinpointed the way in which each young person views the world differently.
The final discussion of the workshops were centred on the role the media play in society and how it can contribute to influencing our world view. A classroom of fully raised hands when asked ‘who here has a Facebook account?’ made it clear that social media was also an important topic to discuss. Throughout the day the year 8 classes questioned the validity of headlines and newspaper articles that were shown to them as examples. As the children were in a mode of critical thinking, one year 8 student asked, ‘How come the media can say something and people believe it without evidence? I don’t think that’s fair’.
Running parallel to the educational workshops were the fitness fun practical sessions. Throughout the day every class of year 8 pupils would have the chance to go outside on the playing fields, take a deserved break from the classroom and partake in a session conducted by former professional footballers Dean Gordan and Richard Offiong. Once both the girls and boys had finished their warm up from the ex-professionals they were then divided into teams and took part in a mini three game tournament.
Once the young people came back in off the field and the classroom workshops had finished, every pupil from year 8 headed towards the main hall for a closing assembly. The closing assembly allowed the students to ask questions to a panel made up of Show Racism the Red Card representatives. In the classroom workshops the children had also noted down ‘burning questions’ which they wanted to ask the panel. Questions from the audience and ‘burning questions’ were presented to the panel by Education Worker Justine King who chaired the Q&A. The panel was made up of ex-professional footballer and SRtRC patron Dean Gordon, Education Worker Tina Simbo and Campaign Worker Ben Holman. The variety and in depth thought of the questions posed from the year 8 audience resulted in a thought provoking and insightful Q&A. The confidence of the year 8 children to ask challenging questions was rewarded with signed posters and wristbands.
Show Racism the Red Card would like to thank Joseph Swan Academy for their hospitality throughout the day, Gateshead Council who fund the work Show Racism the Red Card deliver in the area, and finally, to the year 8 students for their honest engagement from start to finish.