Best Practice

Black lives in science: The past and present

What does it mean to decolonise and diversify the curriculum? Genevieve Bent discusses her school’s work to review and transform the science curriculum to ensure all students feel represented

As a science teacher, it has always been extremely clear what we teach, when we teach it, and why we teach it.

Biology – making sense of all that is living; chemistry – the study of substances, and so on. Race, ethnicity, gender have nothing to do with it.

However, an issue I have with that view is how do I then get the under-represented groups in science, my students, to make deeper connections with the subject when they do not see or believe that science is for them?

Teaching about the lives of black people, particularly black British people, is not something that (I believe) should be left to the history department, and neither should it be a standalone unit looking only at topics such as at the transatlantic slave trade. Black British History did not end or begin with the slave trade nor enslaved people, and to perpetuate this narrative is inaccurate and too commonly done.

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