Tips on Teaching Africa
Pedagogical Frameworks for Teaching Africa
- Thinking About…Teaching about Africa
A list of key pedagogical concepts and questions that a teacher must ask in preparation for teaching most topics, but especially history and geography
- “Africa: Myth and Reality” Social Education Article (1994)
A discussion of the importance of undermining myth and cultural fetishization by listening to African voices and discerning facts from fictions.
- “I Didn’t Know There Were Cities in Africa!” Teaching Tolerance Article (2008)
It offers a review of the broad social, cultural, and political implications of viewing Africa stereotypically–critical for when thinking about why teach Africa in the classroom–and a list of detailed suggestions for an anti-biased curricular approach.
- “Repositioning Africa’s Place in the Classroom” Teaching Tolerance Article (2017). This article discusses pedagogical frameworks and proposes educational strategies to address common misconceptions about the African continent.
Sample Entry Points for Discussing Africa in the Classroom
- Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story” Ted Talk (2009)
A must-watch for educators and students alike. Adichie explains the importance of not relying on a single narrative to define any person, place, or culture. If excerpted, it can be appropriate for all ages. This talk should serve as the defining framework for why and how we should discuss area studies in the classroom.
- “I Am Not Just An African Woman” CS Monitor Article (1996)
This explores with feeling and humor what it was like to come to the U.S. and to lose her identity as a Nigerian, as well as an educated person with a certain professional background. For middle and high school students, it offers a personal account of the difficulties of asserting one’s identity and how stereotypes can negatively impact people.
- Bingo: The US-Africa Connections Worksheet
This activity is designed for middle school students who focus on finding peers who can answer ‘yes’ to many of the Bingo sheet questions, and then uncover how elements of their daily lives–food, music, language, games, etc.–are all connected to Africa and/or the African diaspora. It is an excellent way to ‘bring Africa home’ for most students.
- The “How Big is Africa?” Poster
This poster, produced by the Outreach Program, offers an innovative and creative way to visualize the continent’s vastness, and thus, by extension, its significant diversity. It is accompanied by numerous lesson suggestions, which are tailored to elementary, middle, and high school grades.