A Barbadian ASPnet school learns to connect with one’s own history
“Connecting one’s own history”, the Grantley Adams Memorial School, Barbados
The Grantley Adams memorial school TST project benefitted students aged 11 to 17 years old. For years the school has celebrated the Annual African Awareness month, with often one day’s celebration towards the end of the month. On February 25th 2011, the school organised a special day with several lectures, cultural presentations, and performances.
During the opening speech, the school principal told students about the history of the school building, which served as a plantation house during the colonial period. Another building in the school area, which used to function as the only hospital for slaves in Barbados, was also discussed. It is the school’s intention to renovate this building for the use of children and in this way honor the memory and legacy of slaves.
The school’s history teacher focused on making the slaves’ life real and understandable for children by discussing aspects of their daily lives such as “What did slaves eat and how did they cook their meals?”, “How did children feel about being enslaved?”, “What were the children’s duties?” and so forth.
Connecting in this manner with the slaves’ daily life, as well as local history with TST, gave children a very real feeling and personal experience of slavery and of the lives of their ancestors. The use of concrete entry points to the complex history of slavery allows children to connect in a new way with their community and will also encourage them to expand on this knowledge.