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Connecting People of the Pacific Northwest to the People and Cultures of Africa
The “Africa Is Not a Country” curriculum lessons have been developed and continually used over a period of several years since 1979 through the World Affairs Council of Oregon education program by Grace Kuto who was then an international student at Portland State University. After Harambee Centre was co-founded by Grace and Jackie Goldrick in 2001, the curriculum was then piloted at Woodlawn elementary school in Portland, Oregon for a period of 6 months from January 2003 to June 2003 for one 2nd grade class. It was classroom evaluated by Tom McKenna, the then Portland School District Social Studies Coordinator. It was so successful that the school asked us to do a whole year during the following school year (2003-2004) for three 2nd grade classes. Both periods were funded through a grant by Black United Fund of Oregon and partly by Portland School District Social Studies Department.
DELIVERY: Though this curriculum was class-room tested at an elementary level of learning, its value at College level has been fully demonstrated through practical teaching and seminar settings to University students (sometimes education majors) at Lewis and Clark College, Portland State University, Willamette University, and George Fox University.
The curriculum is not designed to replace the required study materials for the global and/or social study units but to enrich and bring alive these materials in a classroom setting while strengthening reading, writing, intercultural awareness, and analytical skills for students. This curriculum heavily uses the World Affairs Council of Oregon Culture Boxes from around the world. It is specifically designed to introduce students to the people and cultures of Africa through African art, people, music, geography, history, books, visual materials etc….It places emphasis on simple and hands-on learning experiences that make learning about Africa more fun, positive, relevant and memorable for students to cultivate their interest in further and more comprehensive lessons or experiences on Africa. This model is also used during African cultural celebrations or festive settings during which communities can learn about Africa.
Simplicity of curriculum delivery is emphasized so that teachers are not overwhelmed about incorporating these lessons in their regular teaching practices. Based on reading materials, experiences of native African residents and students in USA, returned Peace Corp volunteers from Africa, African festivals and celebrations, Grace helps teachers develop lesson plans adaptable to various classroom subjects and experiences for a wide range of grade levels (K through College) with an emphasis on (but not limited to) elementary and middle school levels to meet their required bench marks. Each “Africa Is Not a Country” lesson incorporates a very basic overview of the African continent and its diverse regions.
Teachers are encouraged to invite local residents of African decent, students, and/or other individuals who have spent extended time on the continent of Africa to enhance the classroom experience for as many lessons as possible. Throughout Oregon, every Public University has a number of students on Intercultural Scholarship Program (ICSP) who are required to go out to Oregon schools and communities to share and educate them about their cultural heritage. Many African students from this program at Portland State University have been a vital part of this curriculum development.
For further resource support of this curriculum, contact Grace Kuto at email@example.com or call 503-810-9274 cell. Mondays and Fridays. You may also call any evenings and weekends