Evaluation Criteria

Do’s and Don’ts When Writing or Teaching

Teaching tips for writing or teaching about Africa


Articles by scholars on teaching about Africa

Story and Cultural Representation Organizers

Analyze stories and uncover cultural information

Do and Don’t when writing or teaching about Africa

Use the names of specific countries where appropriate. Avoid perpetuating stereotypes of Africans as hungry, poor, unhealthy, and the continent as consumed with war, political strife or corruption.
Present problems such as hunger, poverty, disease, and war in global contexts and highlight African solutions to problems. Avoid the offensive, inaccurate or biased terms listed below. As often as possible, use words and phrases that are normally used when discussing life in the U.S.

  • Offensive and Inaccurate terms: natives, tribe, hut, jungle, witch doctor, dialect, primitive, warlike, fetish, uncivilized, pagan
  • Western bias: developing, under-developed, civilized, emerging, backward, non-white, non-Western, communist
Emphasize African perspectives and actions. Avoid overemphasizing western solutions and western celebrities.
Include North Africa countries when discussing Africa. Avoid stereotypical art activities such as building “huts” or making generic “African” masks.
Emphasize typical social groups and activities with which Western children can relate. Avoid highlighting exotic practices and small minority groups such as the Maasai.
Focus on animals that most Africans commonly see (domestic animals and small game). Avoid safari and big game themes.
Strike a balance between information on men and women. Discuss the problems women have faced in historical and global contexts. Provide examples of female politicians, presidents, farmers, professionals, etc. Avoid depicting Africans leaders as the sole agents of change. Discuss them within historical, political, economic, and social contexts.
Make sure images (if applicable) are representative, diverse and non-stereotypical. Illustrations should correspond to the time period, geographical area, ethnic group, etc. Show Africans in contemporary dress styles. Avoid overemphasizing people with few or no clothes, in masks, grass skirts, etc.
Present history in chronological stages beginning with early and ancient times. Avoid an overemphasis on the colonial period and the actions of Europeans in Africa.
Describe local African religions respectfully. Avoid simplistic vocabulary and discussions e.g.  “animists,”  worshiping ancestors.  Describe the longevity of universal religions in Africa e.g. Christian roots in Ethiopia in the 3rd century c.e. and Islam in East, North and West Africa (8th-9th centuries, CE)
Discuss African leaders within historical, political, economic, and social contexts. Avoid simplistically blaming corrupt leaders for the country’s ills



I Didn’t Know There Were Cities in Africa.

Learning for Justice

ISSUE 34, FALL 2008

Movers and Movements: Fighting for Social Justice in South Africa.

Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights

Talking about “Tribe”

Moving from Stereotypes to Analysis


Story and Cultural Representation Organizers

Use the organizers to analyze the story and uncover cultural information about the setting.