Speaker to Year 8
9th Jan 2018
Earlier this month I invited Tayo Aluko to come and speak to my year 8s in relation to their study of the novel 'To K ill a Mockingbird'. Tayo Aluko is an accomplished actor and singer. I met Tayo Aluko at Unity Theatre in Liverpool following his performance in the play ‘Call Mr Robeson: A Life, With Songs’. The play, which was programmed as part of Black History Month in October, is about the life of Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson. Paul Robeson was outspoken about the injustices which black people faced and viewed the plight of black people as not only a consequence of racism but also a class issue. He has been described by some as one of the forerunners of the Civil Rights Movement. Tayo Aluko agreed to come and do a talk for us on the life of Paul Robeson and the Civil Rights movement.
The talk was invaluable for our students for a number of reasons. Firstly, the students have been studying the context of the novel – spanning from the era of slavery to the Civil Rights Movement. The students have been enthused and engaged by this period of study and it has helped them to make sense of many of the sensitive issues in the novel. Furthermore, I have encouraged them to write about context in their essays as part of a stretch and challenge strategy given that I teach top set classes. This is particularly beneficial for the students as they have to do this for GCSE English Literature and it is a skill which they can find difficult, especially at the beginning of Year 9 when they start their GCSE programme. So far the students have coped well with this and I think Tayo Aluko’s talk helped consolidate their knowledge of this period.