5 ways to support and celebrate Black History Month in the classroom


5 activities to support and celebrate Black History Month in the classroom

Marking Black History Month in the classroom provides teachers with an invaluable opportunity to celebrate different cultures. Pupils of all ages and backgrounds can learn about Black history, gaining an understanding of the vast contributions of Black Britons to society. Teachers can showcase the many achievements of black icons and help to drive positive change for the future.

Throughout history, Black women have been integral to social justice movements, bravely confronting oppression and championing change. Despite this, their remarkable accomplishments have often been overlooked or disregarded. Black History Month 2023 presents a meaningful chance to recognise and celebrate the exceptional achievements of Black women, with a special focus on honouring the trailblazers of movements and expressing gratitude to our sisters.

Here we look at how school staff can celebrate Black History Month and the theme this October, featuring a number of creative activities designed to recognise achievements and promote a more inclusive society.

Celebrate achievements

Black Britons, especially Black females have left a permanent mark on the country’s history, so make Black History Month a chance to celebrate their achievements. Encourage your pupils to create short biographies of inspiring individuals, featuring their stand-out accomplishments and defining roles in society. Look to black role models from the worlds of literature, athletics, music and medicine, to name but a few.

Consider faces from the past, such as Lilian Bader, the first black woman in the RAF, Dame Shirley Bassey, the voice of Bond films including Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever, or Crimean war nurse Mary Seacole. Or encourage your pupils to look into the lives of modern icons including Kamila Harris, the first woman and first Black and Asian American to hold the title of vice president, singer/songwriter, Beyonce or professional tennis players, Serena and Venus Williams.

A number of famous profiles can be found on the Black History Month website, alongside worksheets and notes for teachers.

Search for inclusive texts and literature

Black History Month provides an opportunity to bring a new set of inclusive resources into the classroom, which can then be made available to pupils all year-round. Puffin have books dedicated to teaching Black history, alongside a collection of books with empowering black characters – all help to promote various messages of fairness and  equality, and are designed to inspire pupils from a wide range of backgrounds.

Turn to music

Music is a fantastic way to celebrate black culture from around the world. Soul music has its oits roots in African-American gospel music and rhythm and blues, while R&B has influenced the global scene from its popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. Listen to each distinctive style in the classroom and encourage your pupils to talk about what they hear, and how it makes them feel. From Mary J. Blige to the Aretha Franklin, there are many significant female artists to consider, and each has their own story to tell. You could also look at the influence of the past on modern music, while celebrating the characters that made it possible.

Look to the past to shape the future

The world is an increasingly inclusive place, but it hasn’t always been that way. Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman are among those to have campaigned tirelessly for equal rights, and it’s important that pupils understand why their efforts were necessary. Use Black History Month to delve into those periods of history and to question what has changed, alongside what still could be improved. This allows pupils to view topics with a more inclusive mind-set, a factor that is key in developing a more welcoming and tolerant society.

Make Black History Month last longer

Don’t just settle for discussing Black History Month in October. Instead, use it as a chance to broaden the curriculum, using a number of different resources to introduce a diverse range of characters and new information. This way, it’s possible to enhance inclusivity and representation of those of different ethnicities. Give careful consideration to how you can embed elements of British cultural heritage into everyday teaching too – the options really are endless.

Further activities for marking the Month in the classroom can be found via Twinkl and on the Black History Month website.

How Tradewind Recruitment are supporting Black History Month

Black History Month helps shine a spotlight on Black history, raising awareness of important stories and experiences whilst also offering an opportunity to recognise the achievements and contributions of key figures and events. At Tradewind, we are committed to being an equal and inclusive company, improving opportunities and representation, particularly in the education industry by supporting all staff, candidates and clients from ethnic minorities. Throughout October, we'll be getting involved with activities behind the scenes in our branches whilst also sharing useful posts and stories across our social media about all thing’s Black history.