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Teaching about the African slave trade

Thursday, November 29 2007

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left to right, Carol Keller, Marcia Riley and Dr Gift discuss the book at the launch....
left to right, Carol Keller, Marcia Riley and Dr Gift discuss the book at the launch....

DR SANDRA GIFT, Head of the Quality Assurance Unit at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, recently launched her book, Maroon Teachers: Teaching the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans at the Bureau of Standards building, Macoya.

The book launch was chaired by Marcia Riley, Education Consultant, and took place during the international seminar themed, “Teaching the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans”, sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Carol Keller, Acting Head of the UWI School of Education, reviewed the publication enthusiastically. Published by the Caribbean publishing house, Ian Randle Publishers, Maroon Teachers is Dr Gift’s contribution to the international commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans in 2007.

The teachers portrayed in Dr Gift’s book seek to escape the restrictions of the curriculum that impede exposing young people in the Americas/ Caribbean, Africa and Europe to educational content that can help to enrich their lives. Maroon Teachers, therefore, addresses the challenges teachers face in teaching the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans (TTEA), including negotiating the emotional issues associated with both teaching and learning about this subject. The TTEA is heavy with content related to race, prejudice and discrimination, all of which are emotive issues and impact on the full flowering of the human being.

In her book, Dr Gift describes the thematic areas of the TTEA selected teachers focus on and the teaching strategies they employ. Her book is based on the findings of a qualitative multi-site case study on teaching the TTEA in selected countries in the Caribbean and the Americas, Africa and Europe and offers readers and especially teachers multiple understandings of and valuable insights into teaching this complex and emotive subject.

Dr Gift holds a PhD in Education, and has more than 20 years’ experience in education, in the Caribbean and internationally. She has served as Regional Coordinator in the Caribbean and the Americas for the UNESCO Associated Schools Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project, the educational arm of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project.

Dr Gift is currently Senior Programme Officer in the UWI Quality Assurance Unit, Office of the Board for Undergraduate Studies.


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