Applying critical race theory in social work education in Britain: pedagogical reflections

Coxshall, Wendy (2020) Applying critical race theory in social work education in Britain: pedagogical reflections. Social Work Education: The International Journal. ISSN 0261-5479

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This paper draws on personal experiences of teaching white British and Black African students on a social work Master’s course in England. In this paper, I critically discuss the fire at Grenfell Tower in London (14 June 2017) and how it served as a pedagogical tool to
open up critical discussions among students about racial in/justice, intersectionality and neoliberal racism. I also explore how Black students were enabled to share their experiences of immigration, racism, and racial inequality in Britain as part of these discussions. Inviting personal experiences of race in the classroom can be highly emotive; but, as this paper shows, these voices can also highlight institutionalized racism and provide a way for Black and ethnic minorities’ histories to be told and learned. These histories matter and can develop student consciousness about racial inequality for pursuing a social agenda. They also challenge claims that Britain is now a ‘post-racial’ society. Using Critical Race Theory (CRT) provided a way to counter such claims and critique my ‘whiteness’ and socioeconomic class in my teaching, as well as challenge the neoliberal ideologies and structures that reproduce and mask ‘white privilege’ and racial injustice in Britain today.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Social Work Education: The International Journal on 31 Jan 2020, available online:
Keywords: Social justice; critical race theory; white privilege; neoliberalism; Grenfell Tower; pedagogies
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Social Science
Depositing User: Wendy Coxshall
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2020 14:18
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2020 14:18

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