NewVIc teacher helps launch Classics at multi-cultural college

Jane Kunna is a teacher at NewVIc

English and Classics teacher Jane Kunna - Credit: NewVIc

We speak to NewVIc College teacher Jane Kunna, who has recently begun teaching GCSE Classical Civilisation

Jane Kunna is the curriculum team leader for English and teacher of English and Classics. She also works with the LRC to develop ways to nurture students’ interest in reading at Newham Sixth Form Collge (NewVIc).
Here she talks about how she supports students and instils the importance of perseverance and the need to commit to students’ own progress.

On work-life
“I am the Curriculum Team Leader for English and a teacher of classics and GCSE English. GCSE English is a hugely important qualification that can open doors. Learners can feel that they have failed and this leads to low levels of confidence and self-esteem. I try to instil the importance of perseverance, the need to commit to their own progress and a love of the English language.
  I am currently working with the learning resource centre (LRC) to develop ways to nurture students’ interest in reading. The LRC is constantly identifying books that will appeal to our students who have a wide variety of tastes. My team helps to support this objective by publicising via Google Classrooms what is new in the LRC and encouraging students to borrow books and discuss them in class.”

Students at NewVIc college

Jane says the cultural diversity at NewVIc is its "absolute strength" - Credit: New VIc

On the most inspiring people she has met
“One of the most inspiring people I have ever met has to be Allison Locke, a colleague who sadly passed away earlier this year. She was an inspirational figure who championed inclusivity and the need to create level playing fields for all learners. She worked tirelessly on behalf of all students with learning needs and those who were struggling with work and life. Allison championed causes and was a natural bridge-builder, was Newham born and bred and proud of her roots and embraced the diversity of NewVIc staff and students. She epitomised what NewVIc is, a college that is diverse, caring and inclusive.”

On her teaching career
“My first taste of teaching was in Sudan where I taught English at Atbara School for Girls and Khartoum International School. The facilities and resources were very basic chalk boards and exercise books. Thirty years later and I’m teaching at NewVic, a very well-resourced modern college and technology has allowed us to teach remotely via Google Classroom using the latest apps. Despite all these changes three things remain constant: developing student skills and knowledge, teamwork with colleagues and being able and willing to adapt to circumstance and change.”

Classical civilisation taught at new vic

Jane runs a GCSE course in Classical Civilisation - Credit: New VIC

On student progression
“This year my colleague Carina Ancell and I have begun teaching GCSE Classical Civilisation. This is part of a curriculum development plan to teach A-level classics from September 2021. We have developed strong links to the Classics Department at King’s College London who have staged workshops for our students and have visited the college many times. Classics is very relevant to the lives of our students. The study of beliefs, rituals and society has great appeal as students can identify elements and similarities to their own family and diverse backgrounds.

"The cultural diversity of the typical NewVIc class is an absolute strength as students bring different and amazing insights into the ancient texts and archaeological material. The words of Homer can literally come alive in the classroom. Teaching and studying classics at NewVIc challenges all stereotypes and preconceived ideas that only middle class or elite students study the subject. NewVIc has a diverse student community, many with disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who are inspired and engaged to challenge topics often only taught in private schools.”

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