Still in chains;Secondary;Reviews;History;Books

10th April 1998 at 01:00
THE CHANGING FACE OF SlAVERY. Anti-Slavery International. Thomas Clarkson House. The Stableyard, Broomgrove Road, London SW9 9TL. Video pack pound;15.

The Steven Spielberg film Amistad and the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the end of the year may be fortuitous, but Anti-Slavery International can be forgiven for using both to market this video pack on modern slavery.

This topic is surrounded by ignorance. Is it only a feature of the developing world? Could it be found in Britain? And, in the case of children, how do we reconcile their need for education with their right to work?

The authors' mission is to dispel the ignorance and tackle the questions. Unsurprisingly, they see school curriculum history as the medium, on the grounds that the subject matter of slavery and child exploitation are both taught.

This video pack will help teachers develop their study of slavery and factory conditions in the early 19th century to show the present realities of bonded labour in Brazil, forced labour in the Dominican Republic, domestic slavery in Britain and child labour in countries too numerous to mention.

Much of the resource material is similar to that in standard textbooks, although the focus on the abolitionist Thomas Clarkson and cotton apprentice Robert Blincoe may encourage new approaches. The resources for activities that are based on group work are imaginative and provide opportunities for pupils to take roles, assess arguments and express points of view.

History teachers have a duty to use resources to relate past to present - particularly so on such a fundamental issue as human rights. These materials enable as well as challenge, and help to put equal opportunities into practice.

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