|Editor||A. Ross, Teaching Citizenship|
This paper looks at some of the teaching strategies used to tackle inter-ethnic tensions in a multicultural secondary school in North London. The study focuses on a class of 13 year olds (year 8) who come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The school actively promotes its multicultural ethos and its commitment to equal opportunities; however in practice ‘multiculturalism’ appears to signify more than the tolerance by the ‘main’ majority culture – the monolingual English speaking culture – to the existing minority ‘other’ cultures within the school. Looking closely at the student activities during class and break times reveals a different picture: there appear to be tensions and power relationships not just among the ‘main’ and the ‘other’ groups but between different ‘other’ groups as well. Each group constantly tries to establish their dominance over others. The teachers, who are very much aware of the situation, plan and implement programmes of teaching specifically to tackle this problem. This paper discusses how these strategies play a useful part in diffusing some of these tensions.