What does it mean to ‘do justice to history’?

Justice to History is an educational consultancy focusing on the work of secondary schools both nationally in the UK and globally in North America, South Africa and anywhere where educators are keen to transform their students’ learning. Abdul and Robin are two history educators who believe that our subject is vitally important and relevant to the world of the twenty-first century, and so at our core is the drive to ‘do justice to history’. We want to work with others to develop curriculum, pedagogy and assessment that will promote history education that can make a difference to the diverse multicultural societies we live in by furthering the values of social justice and equality, and we believe that such developments can inspire school-wide developments that can transform the learning experiences of students and their teachers alike.

So much of the rich history of diverse peoples of Britain and other nations has been hidden from view for centuries; the history of peoples of Africa and its Diaspora being the most neglected. Many of our historical enquiries introduce young people to neglected histories, like those of the Somali men who travelled and lived in Britain for over a century before the recent major migrations; of Claudia Jones, the Trinidadian socialist who became the inspiration behind the Notting Hill Carnival; and of the Muslim scientists of Medieval Baghdad who confound the prejudices of sceptics who claim that religion and science do not thrive together. We see the serious dangers of a single version of ‘national power and glory’ in school history, so we want to restore justice to history where stories have been consciously or unwittingly ignored.

Young people are at the heart of our mission and seeking their engagement and agency in their learning drives us to work on the way in which history is learned in classrooms as well as the content that they are learning. We are committed to researching students’ experiences of learning history, and we regularly interview young people in schools where we are teaching. Moreover, we want to support the development of teachers who share our priorities and want to transform the whole classroom experience of their students, and we are working with individual teachers as well as history departments in providing targeted Continuous Professional Development. We want Justice to History to offer the kind of consultations and partnerships that will help to shape schools and societies that prioritise social justice and progress.

Abdullahi Mohamud Abdul and Robin Dr Robin Whitburn
Senior Teaching Fellow at University College London – Institute of Education, tutoring School Direct (Salaried) trainee teachers.  Abdul is a member of the Historical Association’s Secondary Committee. A History graduate of Goldsmith’s College, London University. He has taught a wide range of courses for students from 11-18 in History, Religious Studies and Sociology.  He has eight years experience of working with young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds in inner London.  Abdul is of Somali heritage and has strong links with a number of ethnically diverse communities. Lecturer in History Education at the University College London - Institute of Education.  Robin is a Quality Mark Assessor for the Historical Association. A History graduate of the London School of Economics, his doctoral thesis was on successful pedagogy with African-Caribbean male students in secondary school.  Robin has thirty years’ experience in teaching History, Economics and Mathematics in secondary education.  He has taught on teacher training and other graduate courses for history educators for the last five years.

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