Diversifying your English literature curriculum is a crucial step for all schools – but it isn’t as hard or as onerous a task as you may think. Joy Mbakwe discusses diversity and inclusion in the classroom


When I joined my second ever school as a teacher, it was a very different place. The #BlackLivesMatter movement was yet to experience its second wave and TikTok was still a relatively new phenomenon.

As such, my school, at the time, existed as many did: unaware of the ways it upheld white supremacist ideals at the expense of the largely diverse community that it served. In turn, students, also unaware of issues such as systemic racism, passively consumed the diet handed to them in the name of success.

During my induction day, I was told that I would be teaching Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sign of the Four to my new year 10 class, and while I was unfamiliar with the text, I was keen to teach my first detective novel. Years later, I realised how at odds such a text was with the student population at the school.

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