I Heard What You Said
Thought-provoking, witty and completely unafraid to call out some of the most pressing issues of our times, I Heard What You Said is a timely analysis of how we can dismantle racism in the classroom and do better by all our students.
Before Jeffrey Boakye was a black teacher, he was a black student. Which means he has spent a lifetime navigating places of learning that are white by default. Since training to teach, he has often been the only black teacher at school. At times seen as a role model, at others a source of curiosity, Boakye’s is a journey of exploration – from the outside looking in.
In the groundbreaking I Heard What You Said, he recounts how it feels to be on the margins of the British education system. As a black, male teacher – an English teacher who has had to teach problematic texts – his very existence is a provocation to the status quo, giving him a unique perspective on the UK’s classrooms.
Through a series of eye-opening encounters based on the often challenging and sometimes outrageous things people have said to him or about him, Boakye reflects on what he has found out about the habits, presumptions, silences and distortions that black students and teachers experience, and which underpin British education.
‘Hugely important’ Baroness Doreen Lawrence
‘Makes a powerful case’ Rt Hon Lady Hale
‘Deeply compelling, intellectually rigorous and essential’ Nels Abbey
‘Personal and political, profound and playful’ Darren Chetty
‘Written with passion, fury, knowledge and, in spite of the painful subject, wit’ Patrice Lawrence
I Heard What You Said makes a powerful case: until we have rid our educational system of its dominant whiteness (and, dare I say it, maleness) we cannot hope to give all our children (whatever their ethnicity or gender) the educational experience they need and deserve. * Rt Hon Lady Hale * This is the book I've been waiting for and the book every teacher should read. Brave, brutally honest, funny and necessary. Jeffery captures the Black teaching experience in such a powerful and potent way. The book of the year. * Ben Lindsay, CEO/Founder of Power The Fight and author of We Need To Talk About Race * This book is written with passion, fury, knowledge and, in spite of the painful subject, wit. Do you want to break down entrenched structural racism in schools? Then read this. * Patrice Lawrence MBE, prize-winning author of Orangeboy * I Heard What You Said is yet another deeply compelling, intellectually rigorous and essential piece of work by Jeffrey Boakye. The more people read this book, the better our education system will be understood and the better it will become. * Nels Abbey, author of Think Like a White Man * Personal and political, profound and playful, Boakye's sharp analysis of the classroom and the staffroom is essential reading for anyone with a stake in education. A book that should be discussed in every staffroom in the country; send a copy to the Secretary of State for Education! * Darren Chetty, co-author of How to Disagree * I couldn't put it down... Invites us to ponder how we can all change the education system. I Heard What You Said is a must read. * Laura Henry-Allain MBE * An incredibly powerful, gripping book; a compelling read for everyone associated with education. It's simultaneously energising, uplifting and optimistic and eye-opening and challenging ... an impassioned call to arms for change in our attitudes, our curriculum and the cultures that permeate the system. I hope it finds its way into every school and is read very widely. * Tom Sherrington (@teacherhead) * It's very rare for me to read a book which both chimes so closely with my values, yet so thoroughly challenges my thinking... I found myself being educated, delighted, saddened, informed, surprised, shocked, touched and enlightened in turn. I Heard What You Said feels at once easy to read, yet challenging to hear. If you are willing to listen to the truths that it exposes, you will come away with your thinking developed. A must-read book. * Sue Cowley is an author, presenter, teacher and internationally renowned trainer, who has written more than 30 bestselling books for teachers * With his signature blend of endearing wit and engaging prose, Boakye's I Heard What You Said, is, in equal measure, an incisive excoriation of the British education system's relationship with race and racism, an illuminating confessional that lays bare the daily tightrope walk Black educators must navigate in order to belong, let alone excel, and the rendering of a praxis, unapologetic yet restorative in nature, that seeks to add substance to the British education claims of integrity and equity. In a time where Black voices are increasingly, and with their whole chest, saying the quiet part out loud, the conversation with Boakye is resounding. * K. DeMi Ryans * Timely and thought provoking. This brave expose educates on the oppression and constraints of the British education and schools system. Boakye's signature wittiness and hard hitting facts are woven throughout, whilst exploring experiences and anecdotes on his time as a black teacher. * Leninna Ofori (@healingoverhandbags) *
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