Teachers participate in workshop to create Local History Slavery Text Workbook

Teachers discuss possibilities for Local History Workbook

NATCOM (SKN) – Basseterre: Oct 2, 2012: The process of raising National and personal pride through increased awareness of local history by students reached a critical stage this week when teachers got involved in designing a complimentary workbook for a recently completed local history text.

The textbook which features historical sites was authored by local historical enthusiast Leonard Stapleton with input from a number of other stakeholders at the request of the National Commission for UNESCO and more specifically the Slave Route Project Committee.

The National Commission For UNESCO partnered with the Curriculum Development Unit of the Ministry of Education to enhance the learning experience by making the text more exciting for students through exercises that would spark their interest in experiencing first hand some of the heritage sights in the Federation and the contributions of their ancestors.

In a recent opening ceremony of the workshop for the creation of the workbooks Eleanor Philip of the Curriculum Development Unit said it is expected that both the text and workbooks will be entered into the general curriculum of schools in the near future.

Secretary General of the National Commission For UNESCO Antonio Maynard referred to the completion of the text entitled “Places of Memory- Experiences and Contributions of Enslaved Africans in St. Kitts Nevis History” as a landmark achievement in the development of the Schools’ curriculum.

He voiced his organization’s commitment to the implementation of additional follow-up projects documenting local history after slavery.

In a presentation to teachers involved in the workbook creation Leonard Stapleton called on them to get children away from the classroom and out into the “concrete” where they would be able to not only read about but experience history by visiting the historical sites.

He said this was a means of helping students connect to the experiences of their ancestors, the hard work they put in knowing that it was not for their personal benefit and the opportunities now available to students to exceed the achievements of their ancestors knowing that they now have an opportunity to own what they work for.

Coordinator of Social Studies Sheryl Harris said some 44 teachers participated in the workshop and were placed in groups based on the age range of the students they were preparing the workbooks for. The two main groups were Primary and Secondary and within the primary group teachers were asked to create workbooks for the Kindergarten to grade 2; grades 3 to 4 and grades 5 to 6 categories. She commented in her presentation that every effort would be employed to ensure age appropriateness when developing the learning activities.

Minister Carty said the step towards making learning more meaningful was also strategic from the standpoint of including teachers in the process of designing the very workbooks they would teach from, enhancing their own passion to teach the subject. He said his ministry expects that this will translate into more regular use and ownership of the text by teachers.

“I believe we will begin to see in years to come the level of self consciousness among our young people rising sharply; a level of confidence based on now knowing who they are,” said Minister Carty.

The Slave Route Project commissioned by the National Commission For UNESCO is a project designed to conceptualize project to sensitize the public on the issue of slavery and the slave trade as it relates to St. Kitts and Nevis. The main focus of the project is the development of a National monument to slavery and the slave trade.

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