A group of students from Montpelier High School (MHS) have been helping trainee teachers develop awareness of working in multicultural classrooms.
The girls were invited to give a presentation to PGCE English students at the University of Bristol’s School of Education following a project they delivered to help teachers at their own school become more informed about Black culture.
The story began in May last year, when a group of Year 8 students at MHS came together to form a group they named Tackling Diversity in Teaching (TDT). The girls had noticed that some teachers mispronounced students’ names and unintentionally made assumptions due to unconscious bias.
Keen to address the situation in a positive way, the students approached their tutor, Jess Bray, who helped them organise TDT. Their first project was to put together a presentation for MHS staff that was so well received, TDT was subsequently invited to speak with staff in other Bristol schools.
Miss Bray then arranged for TDT to meet students at the University of Bristol, which is a co-sponsor of Venturers Trust alongside SMV. The girls delivered an engaging training session that drew upon their own experiences of diversity in school and the curriculum, followed by a Q&A panel. Their aim was to help teachers identify ways to overcome unconscious bias and improve the curriculum.
Jess Bray said: “I’m always so impressed with the confidence and tenacity that MHS students show in using the power of their voices to influence change. The girls who are a part of the TDT group are an absolute credit to MHS and most importantly to themselves. They came away from this latest presentation at the University feeling positive and excited about what they could do next.”