This was in association with Philosophy Football and was a part of their on-going campaign to reclaim the flags from the racists. My brief was to show how the meanings of the Cross of St. George and the Union Jack had shifted over the last century or so.
I did this through looking at my own family - my grandfather, born 1892, a survivor of The Great War whose favourite poem was Rupert Brooke’s “1914” (The Soldier). This is an excellent poem to use.
I then looked at my mother’s generation - she was born on July 14th 1915 - Bastille Day. She was named Nancy Mary Lorraine “in honour of our gallant French allies” and Edward Thomas wrote “For These” on that day when he enlisted - a list of all the reasons why he felt compelled to fight for England. This is another apposite piece.
The next 2 poems I read were by me and looked at my generation’s experiences (born 1951), and those of my parents in World War Two, together with the attitudes of my teenage daughters. My poems show how I often felt uncomfortable with the Cross of St. George because I felt it symbolised “White Van Man”– but at the same time, I knew the Cross was also part of me. The poems do not show any thinking about how the logo might be offensive to Muslim opinion, however. If I wrote the poem “St. George” again, I am sure that I would include some reference to this.
Anyway, please look at www.footballpoets.org and click on the Kick Racism Out Of Football logo, top right. Then find the following poem “St. George” (Nov 11th); also find “Football Time” in my area and “Blake at Number 7”. [DJC add direct links here]
Students may also be interested in looking at the lesson plans for this site - click on “Butler’s Bench” and you will find ideas for using the Kick Racism Out Of Football award winning area. The lesson plans are also available on this site.
An ideal time for this test might be KS4 - it could be set as a research mini-project for homework with discussion in class. The vast majority of KS4 students study no English/British history - so this would be an excellent time for this activity. Difficult extension questions occur in the test - the test could be differentially set.
Construct a spider diagram on why you are proud to be English/British/Other - you choose how you wish to describe yourself. Put that description in the central box of your diagram.
(I) Now have a look at “We are Britain”
- Poems by Benjamin Zephania; photographs by Prodeepta Das ISBN 0-7112-1902-8
A lot of research, experience, reading and reflection has gone into this unit - but if there is one book that I would recommend here for further reading for teachers it would be “The Making of English National Identity” by Krishnan Kumar. C.U.P. 2003 1SBN 0-521-77736-4
iRespect is an education resource for the development of positive tolerance - find out more...