Mandela school tips for mainstream schools

20th February 2004 at 00:00
* The history curriculum should be balanced and include black people's positive roles.

* Look at slavery in an inquiring but not emotional way. Explore the impact of slavery on Africa, and what brought about abolition. Look at the people who fought against slavery, including Lord Wilberforce, Granville Sharpe and Olaudah Equiano.

* Pick a number of black heroes from the past and present and look at their contribution.

* Teach about black inventors and pioneers in education and science.

* Challenge the stereotype. "For one class, I came in and put the light on and told them all about Lewis Howard Latimer. He invented the carbon filament, making the light bulb a practical invention. Thomas Edison's bulb lasted only 30 hours before burning out," says Peter Okoye.

* When you teach the Second World War, investigate the role played by the African nations in fighting Hitler.

* Teach about African kingdoms, such as the Benin Empire, to show that pre-slave Africa was not as primitive as has been presented.

* Show how black people who came to Britain after the Second World War contributed to the industrial economy, for example in the building of the London Underground network. This presents an alternative view to the idea of economic dependence.

* Teach history in a way that engages white and black children equally.

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