BLACK YOUTHS & SCHOOLING IN BRITAIN THE WINDRUSH GENERATION

New Book by Dr Frances Benskin

147

In this book the author has looked at a variety of issues relating to schools in Britain today. Some of those issues are behaviour management in the classroom, disciplining pupils, bullying in schools, exclusion, language and communication, diversity, and how children can be engaged in their lessons for a successful outcome.

The 1989 Children’s Act placed the interest of children first by giving them priority where their welfare is concerned, but these changes brought about a different perspective in classroom management and pupil/teacher relationship. However, changes are inevitable and when they do occur, solutions must be found to deal with them effectively. This book contains some very useful information to help in solving such misunderstandings even before or when they do occur.

The aim of the author in writing this book stems from her concern about the issue of black children underachieving in British schools. We have come a far way since the first arrivals of Caribbean migrants who landed at Tilbury docks in Essex on 22nd June 1948. How has things changed since then? Considering the hardships and difficulties they faced as new arrivals in a country distanced by thousands of miles from their original country of abode, was it all worth it? With a time span of seventy years, let’s assess the situation.

The immigrants came to work in Britain by invitation from employers and the government, because being British Commonwealth citizens they were entitled to come to Britain without any restrictions. On arrival, many were met with unforeseen hostility especially in housing accommodation as landlords refused to let their premises to them. When they did find accommodation, many had to share rooms and other facilities which were not very comfortable, but there were no other immediate options.

By reading this book, you can learn about the effects of race and diversity in Britain today, and how this impacts on people’s lives daily. Where there are different races there is diversity, and where is diversity, there is bound to be discrimination, because people do not always cooperate where equality is concerned. Therefore inequality is always going to present problems where jobs, housing, education, services, gender, disability and religion are concerned. How do we solve this problem. This book sets out how some of those problems can be solved or even avoided by applying the right knowledge to certain situations. Neither race, racism, inequality nor hostile behaviour needs to create a problem. We need to be aware of the situation which causes those problems, and deal with them accordingly, rather than to allow things to get out of hand, then look for a solution.

Certain issues such as race and racism which people find difficult to talk about, should be discussed more openly, and clarify any misconceptions which some people may find terrifying to discuss. Some individuals find it uneasy to use the term ‘black’ because of the connotation which it carries. This ties in deeply with race and racism, and because of that, some people will go to great lengths to avoid using the term ‘black’. If used in the right context, there should not be any problems whatsoever. So how do we overcome such problems which seem to dominate our daily lives, and causing misery and profound hurt in the lives of so many people? We should first look at our own attitudes towards others, and modify any attitude which does not fit in with good behaviour. In a modern and civilized society people should not be behaving in ways which upset and destroy other people’s lives and thinking it is fun to do so, because it certainly is not the right thing to do. Look at what is happening in the field of football today where black players still have banana skin thrown at them on the pitch with monkey chants, while the players are trying to concentrate on their game. Have they ever thought how disgraceful this type of behaviour looks to the rest of the world. Those fans ought to be given special lessons on behaviourism, or modify their behaviour. But it is not just in football, institutions also need to change the way they deal with applicants and employees, in terms or recruitment, promotion, retention and other factors relating to ethnicity.

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