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15th September 2022

TRACTION project led by Professor Nandini Das awarded Oxford Vice Chancellor’s Innovation & Engagement Award

The TRACTION (Teaching Race, Belonging, Empire and Migration) project, led by Professor of Early Modern Literature and Culture and Exeter Tutorial Fellow in English Nandini Das, has been awarded an Oxford Vice-Chancellor’s Innovation & Engagement Award.

TRACTION is a pioneering online platform which equips teachers to engage with issues of race, belonging, empire, and migration in the classroom. Developed by an interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities team, it is a unique new resource for secondary educators and education across the UK and beyond.

As the Project Director of TRACTION, Professor Das addresses the need to address the issues of identity and belonging in schools across the UK. Das’ own research has explored the transnational and imperial dimensions of modern literature, especially how English contact with the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East features in texts, especially travel writing.

Even in 2021, the ‘Lit in Colour’ report (Elliott et al.) found that only 12% of secondary and 13% of primary teachers in England had received training on talking about such topics in the classroom. TRACTION is the first online platform to provide teachers with the support and training they need to negotiate the difficult terrain of addressing what it means to belong, equipping them with cutting-edge research that they can use to enrich and extend their current teaching.

Focussed on self-directed professional development for English and History teachers, TRACTION has developed a Teaching Toolkit that takes teachers through research across the historical timeline from the 16th century up to the present day. An additional module supports that specialist knowledge with practical, solidly embedded educational theory and pedagogy.

In addition, the Toolkit is supplemented by community-building facilities that allow teachers not only to connect with specialist researchers, but also to model best practices and share resources directly with each other, wherever they are in their journey.

Find out more about the VC Innovation & Engagement Awards on the Oxford University website.

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