We are all Africans, no matter how many continents we spread ourselves out across. And what does that mean, exactly? Remember how Mr. New Orleans made it pretty clear that we are all Africans now? (And see here to learn more.)
The African Continent
The African continent may be as large as the entire European continent (landmass-wise) and slightly larger than the entire Asian continent, but we are never called “Africans” by the news media and we don’t get school assignments named for us in our own countries.
And African schools are often located on foreign soil.
That’s not to say all of our students come from foreign-speaking homes. Africa’s full diversity has never been hidden, and our African schools are simply the most glaring examples.
So what do African schools actually teach? What African-inspired lessons have been proven to improve the performance of our students and, in the process, teach our nations a solid foundation for education?
Here are some examples of lessons that have been shown to work so well in Africa:
Once students in Africa leave Africa for college or a professional training program, almost every teacher has the goal of having them speak English well enough to get a job in the United States.
For decades, schools in Africa have followed this exact same curriculum. Students are taught basic English skills in a classroom setting and all students are required to participate.
In contrast, with English classes being left to chance, students generally still have a significant language barrier once they arrive in America.
Ultimately, what this means is that once students go abroad, we rarely see a significant increase in their English proficiency. In contrast, once African students learn in African schools that learning English in America will be the difference between success and failure, then they have the right mindset to learn and succeed in our schools.
In the world’s school systems, students get homework for the most common subjects in school. Many African school districts boast that their students usually have no homework at all. This simply isn’t true. Students in Africa actually spend nearly as much time on homework, and with no shortage of projects.
With some recent studies showing that we spend 50% of our grade time on schoolwork, this isn’t hard to believe.
Some teachers in Africa have even had to teach their entire courses in the classroom instead of sending kids home to complete homework.
Still, once these students get to school, almost all of our students get at least some homework assigned to them. In some cases, students are expected to write and take tests at night.
In fact, nearly every school in Africa is required by law to assign homework. School districts in other parts of the world might not have enough money to continue to provide homework, but African schools certainly do.
One thing we have learned from African schools is that as long as the school’s curriculum is solid, students are more likely to complete their homework, whether they’re at home or in school. If we want students to complete homework in our classrooms, then we need to offer a solid curriculum that’s in line with what the African schools do.