Teaching Black History and Incorporating it into Classroom Curriculum
Although its now April, February is always so exciting for me every year because it is Black History Month! As an African-American, these twenty-eight (sometimes twenty-nine) days of recognizing black history is so empowering! Though black history should be a year-round celebration, Black History Month encourages people from all races and cultures to dig up those deeply rooted artifacts and history of our ancestors, spreading the information far and near. The sharing of so much profound information enlightens our society of black people’s outstanding achievements and impact on our nation. Teaching black history in class or at home doesn’t have to be boring or lack depth, but rather taught with confidence in hopes that it can help students develop cognitive complexity and authentic empathy. Here are some effective ways to do just that:
Be Relevant. Stories of black history don’t always have to date back to the 1800s. Remember to remind students that black history unfolds right before their eyes every day. Incorporating educational music videos, podcasts, and even comic books into lesson plans can be great attention grabbers.
Teach what’s tough. Studies show that what many students are taught about slavery is watered down, fragmented without context and worst of all, sanitized. Though teaching about slavery and racism may be hard, it is important that these historical facts are not withheld from our student’s education. It’s also important that teachers are bold and honest about our history no matter how difficult it may be to reiterate the past and present.
Celebrate black history EVERY month. Recognizing and celebrating the many achievements of African-Americans should be a constant thing, not just in February. However, Black History Month gives our community a chance to pause and reflect on the inspiring contributions of our ancestors. Need fresh ideas? Try inviting a guest speaker such as a community activist or philanthropist each week or month to share their knowledge about an aspect of black history. Another idea would be to play black history trivia games or passing around black history flashcards. How do you celebrate black history month?