Book Review: Learning and Teaching British Values by Sadia Habib

Posted: September 24, 2017 in Critical Pedagogy, CRT, Racism, Research, Uncategorized

Sadia Habib

Sadia Habib has written a brave, important and, timely book. In Learning and Teaching
British Values: Policies and Perspectives on British Identities, Habib explores the needs for endorsing critical multiculturalism approaches in schools to ensure that, “race, class, power, privilege, social inequalities, knowledge and resistance” are an integral part of the discourse and pedagogy of schools. The book is also a brilliant introduction to Critical Pedagogy, in which the author eloquently explains how and why it should be implemented in schools.

Sadia makes an essential viewpoint that, “Policymakers – increasingly in neoliberal times – favour educational developments that conflict with critical pedagogical ideas about student voice and social justice.” The book unravels the importance of why education that focusses on social inequalities and injustices can positively influence, “ordinary communities, who need hope and possibility to fight oppression.”

What makes this book special is how the author links the importance of Critical Race Theory (an approach that offers a radical lens through which to make sense of, deconstruct and challenge racial inequality in society and schools) with the narratives of students that she has interviewed. This is a vital part of the discourse jigsaw that is usually missed (sometimes deliberately) in this field of research. Reading the stories and opinions of young people discussing their identities, their ideas on ‘Britishness’ and their hopes and possibilities for their futures were – for me – the highlights of this fantastic book.

Unfortunately, in our schools we have always had institutionalised and endemic racism and at a time when socially accepted racism, “is no longer concealed or clandestine, but becoming barefaced and brash” this book is an essential read.

Sadia has eloquently explained key themes (such as Critical Pedagogy and Critical Race Theory) which will enable teachers and school leaders to explore the identities of the students they teach. As she puts it, “Teachers, sincere in dismantling racist structures with their students, need to be reflexive about race, racism and Britishness”. Not only this, but she has also suggested realistic, considered and impactful recommendations that if followed will enable schools to promote a culture and ethos of learning that will, “inspire and enable students to grow in confidence to critique the oppressive social order.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s