Challenging stereotypes about Africa – a whole school approach

Following the first two days of the Internationalising Learning
Training, we aimed to:
• Include international learning in our Year 5 and Year 2
planning, e.g. through English and topic.
• Develop a whole school approach to include aspects of
internationalised learning, developing children’s awareness
of the diversity of Britain and the wider world.
• Set up links with a school in another country.
On our return to school, we developed a three stage plan:
• Identify opportunities for internationalising learning in the
• Lead a staff meeting to make colleagues aware of our plans and to
support the whole school to incorporate internationalised learning
into their planning.
• Set up links with schools from a contrasting locality.
• A jam packed (and very short) half-term!
• Long term planning made it difficult for us to incorporate
internationalised learning – Out of this World?! How does it work?!
• Until I Met Dudley Book Week (Whole school)
Our first step was to look at the topics we were due to start in the
coming half term.
KS1 – Out of this World
LKS2 – Big Bang
UKS2 – How things work
None of these topics provided an easy way in with internationalising
our curriculum! Shoe horning was not something we wanted to do!
In addition, we had a whole school book week on ‘Until I met Dudley’
by Roger McGough which we also would have struggled with!
SO... We looked at the next topics …
KS1 – Parklife
LKS2 – Egyptians
UKS2 – Footsteps Across … Africa
The KS1 and LKS2 themes created issues with the need for a particular
topic focus e.g. Parklife – Science and Egyptians – History. As the UKS2
topic obviously covers Africa, we decided to create a plan together.
We plan to use this later in our staff meeting.
As a school, we had already signed up to the British Council website,
but for very different objectives!
Our deputy head was the named person on the account as she had a
particular interest in linking with a French school.
Our goals had changed!
Our first step was to edit the account to find a school which would
have the same goals as ourselves!
We have been involved in training over the past twelve months - 'Internationalising
Learning on a Global Scale’.
We identified, through this, that our children lack an understanding of places
outside their immediate environment and have a limited experience of other
Their views of the world are very one dimensional and restricted, and are based
solely on media representation. We would like our children to develop a rounder
view of at least one area of the world.
We are very open as to where these links will lead us. We would like to open
communications with friendly schools!
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
We have had a number of replies from...
• India
• Pakistan
• Bangladesh
• Brazil
•Sri Lanka
How do we choose? Where do we go from here?
What are our priorities???
As we had begun this course last year, the majority of our staff had
already been made aware of our interest in making our curriculum
We started by sharing the results of an audit we began through
an anonymous questionnaire and a school walk!
Many members of staff were already including more
internationalised learning than they realised!
We took photographs of ideas that staff had incorporated into
their previous topics.
We also shared some of our successes from last year with
& KS1
In Year 5 / 6, we looked at topic and English objectives needing to be covered. We
quickly realised that we could easily include aspects of internationalised learning.
English - Arguments:
• Wind farms, fossil fuels, solar energy
• Fair Trade
• ‘The World Came to my Place Today’ – Should we only buy locally sourced
Topic – Around the World in 28 Days:
• Knowledge of the World – continents, countries, climate
• How countries use physical features – Spain, Czech Republic, Austria
• Two faces of Africa – challenge stereotypes
• Australia – how countries influence each other
• South America – ‘Journey to the River Sea’, Who lives in the Amazon?
• North America – comparing school life in parts of Mexico with the UK
• Return to the UK – The World Comes to our Place Everyday.
• Dress as somebody from any country – Unicef donation (£74), parental
We took the idea from the initial training and incorporated it
into our Year 6 English unit about arguments.
The class sat in a
circle around a large
map of the world.
Each child had an item
and when the it was
mentioned during the
story, they placed it on
the map. (Pointed out
by TA or teacher.)
This led to a class
discussion about
where things come
from and touching on
‘Fair Trade’. (Children
had completed work
relating to Fair Trade.)
We then posed the
question to the class:
“Should we only buy
locally sourced
Following a brief class
discussion, the
children then worked
in two large groups to
create points for and
We then recorded a
whole class
As our Topic was “Around the World in 28 Days”, we were able
to adapt our planning immediately on return to school. We
looked at the children’s knowledge and understanding of the
World and then tried to challenge some of their ideas.
We thought about challenging stereotypes about Africa: The
Two Faces of Africa.
Our class story was ‘Journey to the River Sea’ by Eva
Ibbotson. This is based on a young girl that moves from
Britain to the Amazon. Initially the children found it difficult
to grasp the idea that the family was a wealthy British family
living in the area. We decided to include this in our Topic
Through this story, we explored the different
cultures and lifestyles within the Amazon
and challenged the ideas that the children
As a closing to the topic, we looked at the impact that
charities have on other countries. We particularly looked at
‘Unicef’ and the change that donations make to children’s
We decided to invite the children to wear ‘clothes from
another country’ for the day and to make a donation to
Unicef. The parents came into school for a coffee morning
on this day and the children explained the work that we
had done.
The children had started to realise the similarities between
countries and the influence that they have on each other.
This was a more positive focus than the differences
between countries.
Due to the constraints of the previous half term, we have
focussed on the Summer term. We:
• Planned a range of lessons together in both English and Topic
focussing on the UKS2 topic.
• Planned time for Vickie to be involved in these lessons and to
• Will feedback and reflect on individual lessons and topics,
creating ideas for future lessons.
• Will continue to share our ideas with other colleagues.
• Carry out the proposed staff meeting.
Together, we have created an overview of what could be
included in the topic.
• We have tried to avoid being stereotypical.
• We have tried to focus on the diversity of the countries and
cultures in Africa.
• We have tried to include the children’s own knowledge and
• We have focussed on some of the children’s interests.
• Develop a whole school topic, embedding
internationalised learning into our current creative
• Make contacts with link schools through the British Council.
• Investigate projects and funding for a long term project or
• How will the new curriculum affect our plans?

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