Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Comments On BBC's Panorama - 'Why Young Black Boys Are Underachieving' / Spoken Word Education

Sol Campbell

I enjoyed the panorama programme, it was optimistic and the BBC (who have negatively played up to black stereotypes in the past) did a good job. It did not venture too deep into the background of the boys, so it avoided presumptions that could be made about young black boys.

Sol Campbell was a nice hook, him being there acknowledging that it is not enough for black boys just to have footballers and rappers as role models was spot on and a powerful thing to see. 

I don't want to come across as patronising but the media ought to depict more examples of black men taking responsibilities - I was in a year 8 class last week asking kids what they're listening to, most of them said "Kendrick Lemar", they said they like stories, they aren't into gangster rap at all... now, why did this surprise me so much? why did I expect them to be into gangster rap and impressed with that culture? - doesn't that comment on how even I (as a Hackney born, Anglo-Jamaican) bought into an idea of black kids wanting to be gangsters? most of them don't and this a fact. 

It was good to see a range of high and low achieving black British men, including one young man persevering after 400 rejections, testimony of his refusal to allow (what we should openly call institutional racism) get in his way. It makes me angry and frustrated that the statistics are acknowledged by Government but they continue with their lack of support for the people who are qualified to help. 

People of the black community ought to be employed not just to mentor and campaign but to be the ones who influence the culture at the top in the boardrooms where policies and funding for supportive projects can get off the ground.

Spoken Word Education

The majority of kids I work with are black and mixed heritage (African / Caribbean) and many of them have taken to poetry, showing up after school for Spoken Word club, run and created by Peter Kahn and co-led by poets Indigo Williams, Dean Atta, Keith Jarrett, Cat Brogan, Pete The Temp and myself. We have high achieving students working alongside some lower achievers, including students who have a history of suspension - we have helped many kids find positivity in the sharing of their voice from the poetry community we have created in the school to the showcases - where parents and other students come to watch students perform their poetry, where they are applauded for being who they are. I have noticed that students consistent in reading and writing, generally have a heightened awareness of themselves and their identity, this awareness creates higher self-esteem and confidence in verbal and literary self expression.

Here's some footage from the first Spoken Word showcase with the students we've worked with.

Our next showcase is Wednesday 19th June 

Also, Peter Kahn is going to be speaking about Spoken Word in Education at the London Literature Festival on 4th June.

More info
Peter Kahn, the co-founder of the London Teenage Poetry Slam has launched the first ever Spoken Word Education Training Programme as a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London.
He has been 'training up' six established Spoken Word poets, including winners of the Edinburgh Fringe Slam, the London Poetry Award and the UK Poetry Slam, to work in six new London schools.
This INSET session is aimed at secondary school teachers and offers a hands-on workshop using some of the lessons that have been used over the course of the school year.
Level 3 Function Room
12 noon - 4pm (lunch break included)

Following on from the INSET for teachers event in the afternoon, Peter Kahn, who has just has launched the first ever Spoken Word Education Training Programme introduces an evening of performances from the Spoken Word Educators involved in the programme. These include Dean Atta, Raymond Antrobus, Pete the Temp, Cat Brogan, Keith Jarrett and Indigo Williams, as well as Spoken Word Club members from Holy Family Catholic School.


No comments:

Post a Comment