Wednesday, August 27, 2008

UK Curriculum Finally Includes History of Slavery

The History Curriculum in the UK is finally going to include the history of slavery and Britain's involvement. Starting this September, all students between the ages of 11 and 14 will learn about the slave trade, including the nature and effects of it, the resistance to it, and its eventual abolition.

They will learn about slavery in America and how Britain impacted slavery overseas. The triangle trade is finally a part of teaching history in UK schools. To be honest, I had assumed it already was!

Check out this article on the issue.

Are you already teaching the history of Slavery in Canada? It will be interesting if you can provide us with links to resources in order to better help each other when going to teach in London. Any advice you can offer will be useful. This will be an exciting time in History departments across the UK as they introduce the important and difficult subject matter.


  1. Hello There:

    Not too sure about when this thread was started, but I decided to post anyway since I'm a student teaher and I'm currently teaching slavery to Grade 3's here in Canada.

    I am originally from the states and I am a permanent resident here in Canada and go to University here, currently obtaining my B.Ed.

    I noticed that in Canada, it seems that many teachers teach kids slavery something like this... "There was slavery in the U.S. and then there was the Underground Railroad which led runaway slave to freedom in wonderful, friendly Canada!" That's ridiculous.

    Many teachers forget to mention that slavery happened in Canada too and the only reason why runaway slaves were coming to Canada via the Underground Railroad was because slavery happened to be abolished in Canada at that time.

    So the way I teach it is that I tell my Grade 3's what a slave is in the first place (not one child raised their hand when I asked the class if they knew what a slave was)then I tell them about slavery in Canada. I start with how the enslaved Africans got to Canada, who owned slaves, what parts of Canada slaves were owned in, how slaves were treated here, and when slavery was abolished. Then I read them stories about slavery and the Underground railroad. But I make it very clear that slavery took place in Canada for over 100 years. They abolished slavery 31 years earlier than the states did (all of Britain's colonies abolished slavery 31 years before the southern states did).

    I choose to teach Grade 3's about slavery because the Ontario curriculum says that they must learn about early settlements in Upper Canada and well, slave were among the European Settlers and the First Nations Communtiies.

    Resources I use for teachers to learn about slavery in Canada so they can teach there students about it are:

    "The Kids Book of Black Canadian History" by Rosemary Sadlier

    "Trials and Triumphs: The Story of African-Canadians" by Lawrence Hill

    "The Black Canadians, Their History and Contributions" by Velma and Levero (Lee) Carter

    "The Hanging of Angelique - The Untold Sotry of Candian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal" by Afua Cooper

    One good book so far that I've read to the kids to teach them about the Underground Railroad is:

    "Under the Quilt of Night" by Deborah Hopkins

    Hope I could be of some help. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing Anonymous! You make some really good points. I'll have to check out the resources you mention as well.


Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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