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In Schools

Joining the Education Unit at HOPE not hate


Working for HOPE not hate’s Education Unit is a unique – and rewarding – challenge. Jane, one of our educators, tells her story.

When I first saw a role advertised in the Education Unit at HOPE not hate, I immediately knew I should apply.

With a background in education and looking to get into the third sector, the role perfectly combined education with social issues. The mission – to get students to understand prejudice, develop empathy for others and stand up for their peers – sounded daunting, but aligned exactly with my values.

My first few weeks at HOPE not hate were a whirlwind of activity. I was immediately struck by the friendliness of my new colleagues and their drive for anti-fascism. Not coming from the same background, I knew there would be a lot to learn but I asked a lot of questions and learnt the ropes quickly.

In my role, I have delivered workshops in schools across England and Wales. We are able to deliver workshops all over, thanks to our dedicated team of educators, and so far I’ve been to Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Kent and Essex, to name a few.


Our programme consists of four workshops:

  • Identity
  • Stereotyping
  • Harmful Language
  • Power & Prejudice

Together these make up our ‘Ambassadors’ Programme’.

The conversations we start in classrooms have the potential to change pupils’ lives and prevent vulnerable students from being drawn towards extreme ideas.” 

Workshops

I really enjoy delivering the ‘Stereotyping’ and ‘Harmful Language’ workshops with Year 7s and 8s, as these are formative years when children are beginning to imitate the language and behaviour of older students. 

We teach children the psychology of stereotyping, how it is a natural part of our brains and helps us make quick decisions. However, some of our assumptions can be false and should not go unchallenged. 

The ‘Harmful Language’ workshop uses storytelling to evoke an emotional reaction in the students, as we feel this method leads to a deeper and longer understanding of the harm some language can cause. 

We look with older students at the Pyramid of Hate – which shows how prejudice can lead to discrimination and even violence. Our theory and methodology differentiates us from other providers and it is something of which we are particularly proud.

“By starting at this young age, pupils are more aware of the harm they are inadvertently causing and can make steps to address it.” 

Our most successful courses are held on ‘Drop Down’ days when students participate in multiple workshops. One of my greatest memories was an Ambassadors’ Programme I delivered in Grimsby to Key Stage 2. 

Even in their early years, children are already beginning to stereotype, use harmful language in the playground and can grasp unfairness among their friends. The children had a lot of fun during our ‘Doctors game’ on fairness and equality, and grasped the concepts quickly. 

By the end of the sessions, it was fantastic to see they had some understanding of prejudice and discrimination and were making pledges to change their behaviours. By starting at this young age, pupils are more aware of the harm they are inadvertently causing and can make steps to address it.

The work of the Education Unit isn’t always easy, and the days can be long and tiring. But each new school provides a fresh perspective, and through being there we see the vital importance of our work. It is a wonderful feeling knowing you’ve made an impact that day, and to come back to supportive colleagues and a welcoming work environment.

“No other education organisation is quite like HOPE not hate” 

No other education organisation is quite like HOPE not hate and we are only able to do this thanks to the commitment of our staff, our freelancers and the schools we engage with. 

Just as our research output must constantly respond to the evolving far-right threat, so will our education work develop in response to changing social trends and behaviours. The conversations we start in classrooms have the potential to change pupils’ lives and prevent vulnerable students from being drawn towards extreme ideas. 

By starting early, and remaining constant in our response, we are able to make a difference. 


If you are also driven to make a difference, find out more about our education work here.

Interested in becoming part of our delivery team? Apply here.

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