Africa
Teacher's Guide
 

September 18, 1999 Update
Remember, the "Kids' Versions" are aimed at K-6.

Check out this date's update
 
The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:
Abeja - French Influence Does Not A Paris Make
Kids' Version available

Abeja visits the colonial town of Segou where she reflects on French colonialism and architecture, and Mali's underdevelopment today.

For older students: By now students have a range of colonial experiences they can use to compare the approaches of various European countries. Have students use The Odyssey website to compare the French in French West Africa with the Spanish in Latin America (perhaps focusing on Peru and Mexico) with the Portuguese in southern Africa with the British in southern Africa.

Team - Why Have the Gods Deserted Me?!? - The Magic of the Book, Segu

This dispatch introduces students to the novel Segu by Maryse Condé and includes several excerpts. These excerpts speak of the arrival of white people, the respect for ancestors and the magic of praying to them and consulting with them, and the arrival of Islam and the fear and loathing it generated in some people.

Segu is a very engaging and rich novel, with an incredible amount of information about the local cultures at the time of the French arrival, and as Islam continued its spread. On the other hand, it is long for many students at almost 500 pages. It has some difficult vocabulary, but never such that the overall meaning is lost. Finally, it includes a few different rapes scenes - they're not very graphic, but very frank. If you aren't comfortable with students reading the whole novel, you can very successfully choose some longer excerpts than those given here.

For now, have students use these excerpts to make a list of comparisons between their culture and that shared in Segu.

Monica - Keeping Up with the Fulani - Jewelry, Parties, and Romps in the Forest
Kids' Version available

Monica shares some of the wonders of the Fulani, a nomadic people famous for their massive gold jewelry, cattle herding, their courtship and wedding rituals, and the Cure Salee (Salt Cure) festival.

For younger students: Have them draw a picture of what they imagine the salt festival looks like based on what they read. (Remind them of the big earrings, the cattle, the salt, and the men in makeup). Have them draw themselves in the picture joining in!

Kavitha - Hey, What About the Girls?!? Bringing Education to ALL the People

Discusses educational issues for small villages in Mali and special concerns for girls' education. Includes the efforts of SAGE (Strategies for Advancing Girls Education), a US AID program, consideration of the new SAGE program coordinator Doucoure Kadiatou Coulibaly, and info about leson plans on such topics as water pollution.

Do your students feel that girls in their society are treated equally when it comes to education? Have boys write their own thoughts separate from the girls. Then have them compare notes! Have them think about things like who gets called on, who gets disciplined, who gets the most help, does someone get graded easier, etc?

Monica - Not Just a Desk Job: Women, Rice Cultivation, and the Office du Niger

A discussion of the role modern women plays in the Malian economy. Includes cotton and rice. The Office du Niger aids Malian women in their struggle to earn money and recognition.

This dispatch can be used very well in conjunction with both Kavitha's on girls and education and the Making a Difference on the Convention. Try having a class discussion as explained in the suggestions for Kavitha's as an intro to the toic. Then have them interview a woman of their choice about their work. Have them ask a few pointed questions about opportunities for women to get certain jobs and advance, treatment on the job, and compensation. Do the women they interview perceive discrimination in the workplace in their society?

For younger students, try having them list what jobs in their society are "girls' jobs" and which are "boys' jobs." Can they explain WHY they think this? Do they think it is alright for a girl to do a "boy job" if she wants to and vice versa?

Making a Difference - The Struggle of Women Worldwide

144 countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, but the US isn't one of them! Students are asked to get the US behind this important Convention.

Have your students help rally support for the Convention in the US in the ways listed (including having a booth to educate other students, creating brochures, and writing letters to senators).

Note that students are asked to think of a couple important examples of rights they think need to be respected more when it comes to women in their own society. Starting at the local level strengthens their commitment to and understanding of the issues in question.

 
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