History - In the spotlight

15th June 2012 at 01:00

Out of Africa

Help students to relate to African children with www.our-africa.org - a new online resource from SOS Children's Villages - which recently received a new media award from Jon Snow at the One World Media Awards in London.

What is it?

A collection of videos made by children across Africa in which they talk about the things that matter most to them - from their favourite games to career goals and how they'd like society to change. The videos break down social stereotypes and dismantle the idea of Africa as a whole; instead, they celebrate the diverse range of cultures across the continent and within each country and community.

How does it work?

An interactive map of Africa lets you pick a country to explore further. Each country profile includes a number of resources: some are just videos while others include lengthier articles and photographs. Topics include education and jobs, children's stories, poverty and healthcare, food and daily life, people and culture, tourism, and geography and wildlife. From village football fever to the sad images of slums, there is much to explore and reflect on.

What do teachers say?

Becky Pointon, head of RE at Chesterton Community College in Cambridge, loves the resources because they really engage her pupils. She says they make them realise that "the young people are just like them - but not in every way. The content is real-life, current and up to date and is about young people telling their stories."

Why is it useful?

The videos are good for stimulating discussion. Start with a simple comprehension sheet to see what pupils understand, then ask them to discuss the social issues. How could things be changed? How is the children's culture the same as or different from theirs?

What else?

Follow up our Africa lessons with cross-curricular projects - for example, playing sports or music from different cultures, creating art or cooking food. Get pupils to create their own fact files on different African countries. If you're feeling adventurous, why not set up a school liaison project so that pupils can continue to learn from their African peers or maybe visit one of the countries explored on the site.

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