16 Jun '14

News British values, multiculturalism and Magna Carta | @guardianletters

I am an anthropology teacher in a west London comprehensive school, and in the midst of Trojan Horse issues in Birmingham I ask myself: what are British values? What do I teach my students to reflect them? I enter my year 13 anthropology class and look around. It's made up of students whose parents are from Morocco, Pakistan, India, Kenya and Mauritius; there is not a single purely English student. I am Croatian and a refugee from the Balkans conflict who came here in 1992. So, the whole classroom is, or was, immigrant. Perhaps the makeup of my school is specific to its location. All of my students are second- or third-generation immigrants or refugees. However, they are British kids who listen to all of the popular music, follow the fashion of teenagers and have the same issues as any other British teenager. But this is what makes it beautiful for me. This is, for me, what British values are: freedom to express this multiculturalism.We, as teachers, are responsible for creating an environment with no judgments. Yes, all of us in my anthropology class have hybrid identities. My students and I perhaps eat food at home with spices from our original countries, or watch satellite soap programmes from our native countries, but when we are in my classroom we have something in common that allows us to communicate. Is this a British value? Why does it have to be labelled British? I am proud to live in this country and share norms and values that we all agree upon. Continue reading...

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