Friday September 16th 2011, 18:15-19:30
Venue: History Department Seminar Room (S8.08), King's College London, Strand
The low academic achievement and supposed lack of national integration of Muslim males in Britain have, since the initiation of the â€˜British-nessâ€™ agenda in 2006, been a subtext of a political re-think of the form, content and purposes of history education in English schools.
This presentation will present empirical qualitative and statistical findings about the responses of 295 British Muslim boys to their History provision in four English schools and outline a strategy for maximising the positive impact of History education for helping Muslim boys succeed in school and in life in Britain.
Matthew Wilkinson's thesis considered whether National Curriculum History ( NCH) can help Muslim boys â€˜succeedâ€™, through analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gathered from 295 male Muslim and 60 male non-Muslim Year 8 and Year 9 pupils from four sample English secondary state schools and employing a multi-faceted ontology of â€˜successâ€™.
The majority of Muslim boys had found history interesting and had equivalent levels of academic â€˜successâ€™ with it as the non-Muslim sample. At a civic level, Muslim boys perceived the connection between their history provision and the development of their civic identities as a core rationale for their study of the subject. At a spiritual level, NCH had generated in the Muslim boys a wealth of ethical reflections that were relevant to their finding meaning in their lives. However, the impact of NCH in this regard was constrained by an absence of the delivery of the Islamic history modules that are available in NCH. At an instrumental level, the potentially transformative impact of NCH to set the boys up with transferable skills was limited by the perception that history was not an â€˜importantâ€™ subject. The impact of NCH at the emotional level was hindered by a relative absence of parental support for the subject.
In the context of broader debates about the purposes of national history curricula, the study concluded that stronger links between the exploration of history, citizenship, ethics and morality in the history classroom would make history at school more useful, meaningful and memorable for male Muslim and other types of pupil.
Matthew Tariq Wilkinson was born in London and was educated at Eton College, where he was awarded a prestigious Kingâ€™s Scholarship (a full academic bursary), and at Trinity College, Cambridge where he was awarded a Scholarship in Theology & Religious Studies. He embraced Islam in 1991 in Granada, Spain and over the next ten years gained an Islamic education in the Qurâ€™an , basic Islamic jurisprudence and the Arabic language. Thereafter, he taught History, English, Citizenship and Islamic Studies for 14 years in mainstream and faith schools and gained Qualified Teacher Status in History in 2005.
He has recently completed his PhD research into Muslim male educational achievement and History Curriculum entitled , History Curriculum, Citizenship & Muslim Boys: Learning to Succeed? at Kingâ€™s College London where he was awarded a PhD studentship in partnership with the Muslim Council of Britain. Matthew has served on the MCB Education Committee since 2008. The Research & Documentation Committee of the MCB is supporting Matthewâ€™s postdoctoral research into Essential Islamic Education at the Cambridge Muslim College.
MCB ReDoc Seminar Series 2011-12
Monthly on Fridays, 18:15-19:30
The ReDoc Seminar series is intended to open a space for discussion of research and work in progress on Muslims in Britain and related topics concerning or affecting the Muslim community. Short presentations will be followed by Q&A and participative discussion.
Friday, September 16:
Dr Matthew Wilkinson, â€˜Helping Muslim Boys Succeed: the Case for History in Schoolsâ€™
Friday, October 14:
Dr Serena Hussain , 'A comparative study of Islamic schools in the UK and the US - some preliminary findings'
Friday, November 18:
Dr Mustafa Traore, â€˜The integration of Muslim culture in Great-Britain: from theory to realityâ€™
Friday, December 16:
Dr Adam Sutcliffe, â€˜Beyond Competitive Victimhood: The Politics of Holocaust Memory in a Multi-Ethnic Societyâ€™
Directions to venue: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/campuses/strand/Strand.aspx
Past seminars in the series:
Friday, July 15
Dr Jamil Sherif, â€˜A Census Chronicle â€“ reflections on the campaign for a religion question in the 2001 Census for England and Walesâ€™
The campaign from 1996-2000 to include the religion question in the 2001 Census for England and Wales was a defining event for Muslim communities in Britain because it provided formal recognition of their collective identity as a faith group, rather than being subsumed in the â€˜blackâ€™, â€˜Asianâ€™ or 'Pakistani/Bangladeshiâ€™ ethnic categorisations of the past. What was the â€˜micro-historyâ€™ of this four-year journey?
In his presentation, Dr Sherif presented an MCB perspective, in particular the emergence of an inter faith alliance as a political pressure group and the civil servantsâ€™ responses when faced with demands for change. A major social policy decision was eventually taken, not just through a process of rational negotiation but through fortuitous and unscripted interventions of persons of goodwill. The campaign offered British Muslims their first comprehensive engagement with the variety of formal and informal networks, centres of power, institutions and processes that interact in the shaping of policy in a participative democracy.
Series Convenor: AbdoolKarim Vakil
Chair, MCB Research & Documentation Committee
Lecturer in History,
Department of History
Department of Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies
King's College London