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Derby teacher pens a little book with a big message

Bennie Kara

The deputy headteacher at one of Derby’s most multicultural schools is passing on her experience to other teachers after writing a book to encourage diversity in lessons.

Bennie Kara, who works at The Bemrose School, in Uttoxeter New Road, was approached by a leading publisher to write A Little Guide for Teachers: Diversity in the Curriculum.

Although the book addresses all kinds of diversity, there is a focus on racial diversity which supports the discussions around the Black Lives Matters movement and the global response to it.

And, although Bennie has only been teaching in Derby since September 2019, she has been able to draw on her experiences of working in an environment where three quarters of pupils are from ethnic minority groups.

Bennie, who has previously taught at schools in London and Oxfordshire, said:

“Bemrose School is one of the most inclusive and diverse environments I have ever worked in and there is a real sense of appreciating, accepting and celebrating cultures here.

“This isn’t something you get everywhere, and many schools can be very monocultural, but the intake at Bemrose is so diverse that an understanding of cultures is second nature to staff who are genuinely interested in individuals.

“This book is about how lessons can be adapted so they don’t gloss over subjects which are relevant to pupils; creating a curriculum that is as deep and diverse as the students.

“It’s important to teach through a diverse curriculum, otherwise we will miss the chance to educate our students about how they fit and how they are connected in our society.”

Bennie has been a vocal supporter of diversity in education for many years and is a keen supporter of online movements such as @WomenEd, @BAMEednetwork and @LGBTedUK and has featured as a keynote speaker for @DiverseEd2020 and the Team English National Conference.

Her book is the latest in a series of Little Guides produced by Sage Publishing and will be launched virtually on Saturday, with an ‘on the couch’ chat with four curriculum experts.

Bennie added: “I always wanted to write, although I thought it would be fiction, but it’s still exciting to imagine walking into a shop or library and finding my book on the shelves.

“It’s only very short, just 104 pages, but it’s designed for teachers to read in one sitting and to encourage them to reflect on the way they teach and give them ideas on where they can go for more research.

“Teachers need to recognise that diversity can’t be a bolt-on to the curriculum, but something which is built-in.”

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