Lecturer honoured for LGBT education work

Posted on 08/01/2014 by



An Edinburgh College lecturer has become the first educator in Scotland to achieve official professional recognition for expertise in equality and diversity education.

John Naples-Campbell, a lecturer in performance at the college, has been honoured with an Equality and Diversity Professional Recognition award by The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). The GTCS scheme recognises educators for particular expertise and commitment they have displayed in their teaching, not necessarily directly related to their curriculum area.

John achieved the award for the extensive work he has done in raising awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues among his students, including the organisation of arts projects to bring related topics to life. In deciding to present the award to John, GTCS took into account the significant impact his work has had on his students and the wider college community.

At Edinburgh College, John has led a range of LGBT activities, including the launch of annual LGBT History Month events. These included the staging of the play ‘The Laramie Project’, which tells the true story of a gay hate crime that resulted in the death of a young man in Laramie, Wyoming.

John also organised the creation of a video made by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff and students in which they discussed their own experiences to provide role-model advice to young people going through similar situations. The significant impact these projects had on the college community – which led to changed attitudes and students taking on the role of educating their peers in LGBT issues – helped the college win the Equality and Diversity Award at the Scottish Colleges Awards.

As part of his ongoing LGBT work at the college, John runs LGBT workshops for staff and students to try and embed equality practices in the teaching curriculum and the day-to-day business of the institution. He is now setting up a LGBT staff network and is also arranging for student class representatives to deliver equality lessons throughout the academic year.

In a previous role as drama teacher at East Lothian’s Knox Academy, John ran LGBT workshops and led a group of S3 pupils on a film documentary about LGBT issues. This featured interviews with representatives from Stonewall Scotland and Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Services, as well as the academy’s deputy head teacher. As a consequence of this project, pupils were asked to speak at a Stonewall Scotland conference, the school introduced a new LGBT policy, and it became a member of the Stonewall Schools Champion Programme.

John, who lectures at Edinburgh College’s Performing Arts Studio Scotland (PASS), said: “I’m incredibly proud to be recognised for something that is a genuine passion and that’s so important in allowing all students to thrive without facing unwarranted prejudice. Dignity and equality for all people underpins everything I do in education, so I hope I’ve done my bit to give students the safe, respectful environment they deserve.

“Part of what I’ve aimed to do is to challenge students on their attitudes. One thing that’s quite prevalent in our society is a kind of flippant homophobia that isn’t necessarily born out of hate or disgust but can be equally as damaging to young people who may only be getting to grips with their sexuality themselves. It’s a great credit to our students that they’ve been so willing to engage with the process of addressing their own attitudes, with many then going on to become becoming advocates and educators of LGBT issues themselves.”

John already has a GTCS Professional Recognition award for his work in holocaust education.

Rosa Murray, education adviser (professional learning) at GTCS said: “We are delighted to be recognising this important work which sits well with the Professional Values articulated within the new Professional Standards recently produced by GTCS for all registered teachers in Scotland.

“John has worked incredibly hard to achieve this Equality and Diversity award and has been an inspiration to many of us with his commitment to educating in innovative and effective ways. He is the first to achieve an Equality and Diversity award.”