Image: Tamarcus Brown/Unsplash
The Society has published a new report, I didn’t have any teachers that looked like me, which highlights the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) geography teachers while studying and teaching the discipline.
The changing nature of who is, and who is not, studying geography in English schools, colleges and universities was explored in our Geography of geography report. This showed that the increase in GCSE numbers has come predominately from groups who had been previously less likely to study GCSE geography – with pupils of a (known) Black and ethnic minority (BAME) background now representing about 23% of all geography GCSE entries. However, such progress is not reflected in the transition from GCSE to A Level and the narrowing of geography’s BAME intake continues at university. In 2018, 88% of undergraduate geographers were white.
Over the summer the Society invited BAME geographers who had been supported through our Geography Initial Teacher Training Scholarships programme to discuss and share their experiences of studying and teaching geography. Eight participants took part in three focus groups, exploring a range of issues spanning their motivations for choosing geography, their experiences of studying geography, and their training and professional practice as geography teachers.
I didn’t have any teachers that looked like me offers personal insights from BAME geographers which illustrate the positive benefits of studying geography, alongside the widespread and significant challenges facing BAME individuals within the discipline.
These discussions and the participants’ comments will inform the Society’s work to support greater equality, diversity and inclusion within geography, and we hope this report will be drawn on by others across the geographical community so that the benefits of this subject are made more available to all.
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