TeachDifferent: The Identities Programme

2016 Community Philosophy and Fundamental British Values

2016 Restorative Practice and Behaviour Management

2015 Time to Talk: The Attention/Dialogue Project

2015 TeachDifferent:  Identities

2014 TeachDifferent:  The Reflexion Project

2014 TeachDifferent:  The Diversity Project

2016 Community Philosophy and Fundamental British Values

This project was funded by The Consortium for Education and Training and is ongoing (at 13.6.16).

Earlier this academic year, we piloted a new approach to Prevent and FBV training at Barnsley and Northern Colleges, wanting to offer an alternative to (or supplement) the existing e-learning modules, which would often leave teachers with no voice or platform to discuss important and controversial issues. Our approach uses Community Philosophy, an inquiry-based learning technique which encourages questioning and critical thinking. Starting with an examination of personal and professional values, we consider the wider concept of ‘British Values’.  We go on to outline the professional duties of education under Prevent before using various artefacts to stimulate peer-led inquiry.  The session concludes with practical consideration of the development of ‘belonging’ within our own classrooms.

With support from the Consortium, we took the workshop out round the country:  to Eastern and Otley (Suffolk), Liverpool, Northumberland, Scunthorpe and back home to Northern College.  We have given 60 (so far) students and tutors the opportunity to experiment with inquiry-based learning and get a new perspective on the Prevent/FBV agenda.  Once the project is complete, a journal article and e-book will be produced on the subject of ‘Creating Classrooms of Belonging and Community’.

The sessions are being evaluated via a Critical Incident Questionnaire (see Stephen Brookfield in writing and on YouTube).  Comments include:

  • I have realised how much I need to learn to really listen.
  • This process makes me stop and think.
  • The process of philosophical enquiry brought the whole class together.
  • I now know how important it is to allow space for disagreement and uncertainty.
  • I want to build inquiry-based approaches into my own teaching, to develop critical thinking.

In the spirit of affirmative action, participants were also asked to comment on what they would do as a result of attending the session.  Actions included the following:

  • Re-reading and critically analysing the original Government Prevent guidance.
  • Following diverse voices on Twitter and joining campaigns.
  • Learning more about other cultures and religions.
  • Researching ‘Non-Violent Communication’ (NVC) as a means of facilitating respectful debate.
  • Running a philosophical inquiry on British Values with their own classes.
  • Doing identity and values work with their own groups.
  • Using Restorative Practice approaches to build classroom communities.

Kay Sidebottom has produced a blog on the subject, which has been widely shared on social media.

2016 Restorative Practice and Behaviour Management

This un-funded project has Restorative Practice at its heart, and draws on threads from the other dialogic processes we work with:  Thinking Environments and Community Philosophy.  Although we have few issues with behaviour management in our own practice (and we are not making any assumptions about why that is, though we have a few ideas), our students, working in very different settings, often too, so it felt essential to take this on.

Having run a couple of practice sessions, it was no surprise to learn that Restorative Practice is also central to the practice of behaviour ‘guru’ Paul Dix and his team at Pivotal. The TeachNorthern team is being trained in Restorative Practice by practitioner Karol Thornton in July 2016 and we will be developing sessions to run with trainee educators.  Watch this space.



2015 TeachDifferent:  Identities

TeachDifferent: Identities  is an exciting new CPD programme funded by the Skills Funding Agency and Equality Challenge Unit.  This project aims to change the way that teachers and students talk about equality, diversity, privilege and the intersection of different identities – vital and important work that is rarely seen in the sector.mikado

Our hope is that it will enable individuals to express their identities safely and without prejudice, through a process of coaching and ‘train the trainer’ workshops that will explore limiting assumptions and challenge thinking. The project will leave a legacy of voices, stories and practical strategies to build sustainable skills development in this area.

The project involves partnership work with the WEA and other education providers – a number of additional free places are also available for teachers from the voluntary and community sector who wish to become ‘identity champions’ and promote this work in their own organisations.

Participation in the project is completely FREE, thanks to our funders.

Want to get involved?

The project induction event will take place on Friday 27th February 2015 at the beautiful Northern College.  Following this day of introduction and exploration, each participant will undertake empowerment coaching in a Thinking Environment to uncover and address untrue limiting assumptions about intersectional aspects of their identity. This process will also serve to more deeply understand how intersectionality works in practice and how it can be addressed.   Each participant will then develop an action plan for taking identities work into their own teaching context; accompanying media pieces will be produced to promote and share the learning more widely.  All participants will be required to evaluate the programme with our independent researcher, so that learning can be shared and findings promoted both with our funders and the wider education community.   We’ll come back together to share the learning and action plan the exciting next steps on Friday 8th May 2015.

A social media campaign will run alongside the project using the hashtag #TDIdentities. 

What happens next?

We’re recruiting NOW!  Please complete the application form below and email it to us at teachnorthern@gmail.com.  Please do also contact us with any queries or comments about the project.  Applications will close on Friday 13th February at 5pm.

We’re having lots of applications – which is great – but we’re aware that our networks could benefit from more diversity.  Our history and heritage has left us with a white world view and we want to change that.  If you could help spread the word to places we can’t (yet) reach, that would be amazing.  Thank you.

TDIdentities app form


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