The African School was set up in August 2009, by Natty Mark Samuels, a Tutor at both the Working Men's College, London and Ruskin College (Visiting Tutor), Oxford : to provide the teaching of African Studies, to the general community; with a focus on pre-colonial sub-Saharan cultures.
The Oxford classes will resume on a monthly basis, in the Judges Room, Oxford Town Hall. The London teaching continues on a weekly basis (Thursdays), at the Working Mens' College, Camden. See the Timetables section for dates and times of teaching.
African School teaching has also taken place at community events, youth clubs and seminars.
Because the African School was founded on a vision and a belief in Community Education, lessons have been designed using what I believe to be universal and interactive learning tools, such as wordsearches and quizzes, amongst the narrative and the discussions. If you go on a train or coach jourAfrican School teaching, hoping that whoever steps through the learning door, should be able to engage and enjoy their time in the African School. To be used alongside other learning tools such as introductory human maps and the hangman exercise. Lessons to be interspersed with role play, or at least the usage of movement. With such an array of learning tools at my disposal, including cloze exercises and spidergrams, alongside mini crosswords and the use of charades, I am better prepared to think on my feet when the occasion arises. To keep the teaching fresh and fused with fun. For there are still too many people in the U.K who cannot read or write to well. For example, 60 % of those imprisoned have difficulties with basic literacy. Which hasn't changed from my teenage years, when people I know were going to D.C. and Borstal. Because of this, I am searching for methods that will attract and re-engage them in the learning environment. I see my creative writing as part of my methodology. Many people, for various reasons, such as length or unknown lexicon, would not be inclined to read something by this professor, or that academic. But might read a short article or a poem . Literary snapshots; as stepping stones to enthuse further learning. To spur the improvement of their vocabulary and cultural knowledge, so they become aware of the need for other lexicons and be more prepared to attempt articles of length. That their own creativity is stimulated.
Also, I hope that my setting up of the African School, will inspire other people within their communities, who have a store of knowledge and the enthusiasm to share it, to step forward and do so. Helping to form a network of Community Educators, in conjunction with Adult Learning departments and institutions for Adult Education.
If we are really concerned about the continuing levels of illteracy in this country, it is well overdue, this need to look at other ways to enthuse learning and the love of education, as well as what the statutory sector offers. I envisage a symbiosis, an interspersment of Community elements, alongside the Statutory provision. Working towards an improvement in U.K. levels of literacy. Helping to create other, much needed routes, to spark and sustain, the enjoyment of education.
©Natty Mark Samuels, 2011.ney, you will see wordsearches being attempted. Many pubs in this country present weekly quizzes. So these are learning methods that people are familiar with; so I have included there usage in
The primary aim of the African School is to give a more balanced, positive accounting of sub-Saharan history, through the knowledge of pre-colonial societies. For example, most people associate Rwanda with genocide: but from the 17th century onwards, through Ruganzu Ndori and the Nyiginya Kingdom, Rwanda became one of the most powerful and influential states, in the Great Lakes/Central African region. Also, the Rwandan region was one of the first areas of sub-Saharan Africa, to master the smelting and working of iron, during the continent's Early Iron Age.
African School teaching has been accredited by the O.Y.P.A. (Oxfordshire Young Peoples Awards), for Youth and Youth Offending Services provision.
Left to right - Marie Nolan, Youth Development Worker, Adil Hammed, 14, Guilherme Ruge, 11 and Natty Mark Samuels.
These two young men, Adil and Guilherme, are members of the Donnington Youth Club, at the Donnington Family Centre, East Oxford. In April 2011 they became the first recipients of African School youth accreditation: awarded by O. Y. P. A. African School teaching was validated by the aforementioned organisation in September 2010.
Natty Mark would like to take this opportunity to express his gratitude to the staff at the Donnington Family Centre; especially to Marie Nolan, the Youth Development Worker, for her support throughout the teaching. To Christine Chambers also, an Area Youth Worker, for her guidance through the validation process.
Natty Mark is C.R.B. checked and the holder of a P.T.T.L.S. teaching certificate, a required qualification for teaching in the Adult Learning/Education area. Although the paramount focus of African School is on pre-colonial cultures, African School teaching also offers classes/courses on modern and contemporary figures, such as Wangari Maathai, Rhampela Mhamphela, Nelson Mandela and Muhammed Ali.