About Dr Khadija Mohammed
Dr Khadija Mohammed is Associate Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of the West of Scotland. She is a multi-award winning sector leader on racial equity and anti-racism education. Her research centres on the lived experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic Teachers in Scotland with a focus on acknowledging, nurturing and celebrating their diverse identities. Khadija is the co-founder and Chair of SAMEE. She received the Scottish Trade Union Congress Equality Award in 2019 and is the first BME educator to be elected as the Convenor of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). Khadija was Chair of the Advance HE/Scottish Funding Council project ‘Tackling Racial Harassment in Universities and Colleges’. She is currently the chair of the Scottish Government Anti-Racism in Education Programme Board (AREP). Khadija also received the Times Higher Education Outstanding Staff Contribution Award in 2022.
Key note abstract
‘I’m Just a Teacher!’ – What chance is there for future anti-racist education?
This paper examines minority ethnic teachers’ perceptions of their personal and professional identities. It contributes to understanding of why some teachers don’t feel comfortable expressing their personal identities to avoid being seen as the ‘race person’ and in doing so, it questions perceptions on whether anti- racist education can only be taught by Minority ethnic teachers.
Kholi (2018) suggests a need to understand how minority ethnic teachers negotiate their professional identities, and considers whether their personal identities actively or consciously impacted on their teaching. Whilst schools can be important sites for children and young people to encounter social justice, so too, are they sites for teachers to encounter social justice. Yet some minority ethnic teachers appear to feel confident in utilising their cultural and linguistic skills while others choose to assimilate in order to ‘fit in’. This potentially oppresses minority ethnic teacher’s identity?
This paper draws on qualitative research conducted with minority ethnic teachers from the West of Scotland. All were educated in Britain but selection criteria ensured a mix of different cultural and religious backgrounds. Focus groups enabled their responses to be analysed, in order to explore their experiences and perceptions of their contribution to the profession. It was also important to seek their views on responding to the needs of the minority ethnic children they teach and whether they felt that their cultural, religious and linguistic skills were of benefit to all the children they teach.
By identifying the enablers and barriers to minority ethnic teachers utilising their cultural, religious and linguistic skills in the classroom, the research findings inform our understanding of teachers working in culturally diverse classrooms. This paper concludes that if we are serious about equity and social justice there are underpinning issues about the identities of minority ethnic teachers that require further exploration.