It is our belief that oppressions such as racism, sexism, classism and homophobia continue to permeate our schools as well as other institutions within the society. These are issues which greatly affect our teaching staff and our students within the system, yet because they are considered to be ‘controversial’ by nature they are often ignored or silenced. Many research studies indicate that in the school context, teachers are often ill equipped to deal with the many identity issues that our students face, and do not have the background knowledge in how issues such as racism create institutional and systemic consequences.
Contradictions abound in education. Teaching involves both intended and unintended lessons, and it is often in the unintended, hidden lessons that racism, sexism, and other ‘isms’ find life. Learning involves both a desire for and a resistance to knowledge, and it is often our resistance to uncomfortable ideas that keeps our eyes closed to the ‘isms’. Contradictions in education make it impossible to deny the many oppressions affecting what and how we teach, despite our best intentions. What might it mean then, to teach in ways that challenge oppression?
(Adapted from www.antioppressiveeducation.org)