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Breaking the Silence: Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project
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EDUCATION Associated Schools Project Network
About the Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project
Programme of Study
Teaching Ideas
International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
International Task Force
Participating countries
The TST & the Indian Ocean Project
The Slave Route


Programme of Study

The conceptual design of this programme of study has been guided by a particular view of the nature of history as a discipline and of the educational and cultural needs of students.

The methods of studying history as a multidisciplinary exercise have determined the aims and objectives stated in the programme of study.

The importance of teaching about the TST in schools as a major historical event has not been sufficiently recognised. The assumption of this programme of study is this: through a coherent and comprehensive examination of the subject students should come to an understanding of the enormous historical magnititude and significance of the contribution of African people to the modern world.

As a major tragic event in the rise of modernity, the TST has led to the formation of diasporas throughout the Atlantic world. It is necessary to inculcate among young people a deep appreciation of the positive and negative aspects of this historic episode and the resultant social processes in the development of the industrial age.

The course of study is designed to enable students obtain not only a sense of the moral aspects of this tragic development, but to understand the significant achievements of dispersed African peoples in the making of Atlantic modernity – particularly with respect to Europe and the Americas.

A detailed analysis of the various aspects of the ‘trade in humans’ can lead to meaningful comprehension and evaluation of the contributions of African peoples to the cultural, social, economic, and political making of what is now described as the ‘West’.

Students will acquire objective and scientific knowledge to facilitate an understanding of the attitudes, values and mentalities that shaped institutions and social relations in the ‘West’ as part of the Atlantic world.

Through the multidisciplinary study of the evidence, the education process will also contribute to the redressing of the academic imbalance that exists in respect to teaching and learning about this historical episode and process.

General Aims

  • To enable students to locate the TST as a major element in the emergence of the modern world.

  • To enable students to understand the historical importance and the contemporary significance of the TST.

  • To develop in students a knowledge and understanding of intercultural links particularly in reference to the shaping of new social identities.

  • To encourage students to develop positive learning values and attitudes which would be of benefit to themselves and society at large.

  • To encourage students to develop a deep sense of social duty, moral responsibility, and commitment to social justice in all aspects of life.

  • To assist students whose societies have been significantly affected by the trade to develop positive pedagogical responses.

  • To assist students who are descendants of victims of the TST to develop and nurture positive pedagogical responses that may support their right to equitable social inclusion where there continues to be exclusion.

Specific Aims

  • To prepare students to develop an interest in the advance study of the TST in order to generate significant research and new knowledge for the future.

  • To empower present and future students with new and innovative resource materials and participation in academic and cultural activities that will facilitate the sustainability of intercultural dialogue and research.

  • To create, by means of project work, a catalyst for the bonding of students, teachers, and technology experts, communicators, non-governmental organisations, government officials, and other supportive persons and agencies.

General Learner Objectives

  • Student should participate in intercultural exchange, and seek to develop greater sensitivity and awareness with respect to the history and legacies of the TST.

  • Student should seek to acquire the research skills and attitudes necessary for the multidisciplinary study of the TST.

  • Students, teachers, and the community should seek to recognise, and promote the preservation of, historic sites, artifacts and other materials and non-material representation that were part of this historic process.

  • Specific Learner Outcomes

    Students will be able to:

    1) Develop and evaluate the historical records, ideas and values relevant to the TST.

    2) Conduct independent research, pose crucial questions and offer innovative explanations with respect to the consequences and legacies of the TST.

    3) Produce and communicate conclusions of historical inquiry in the format of essays, projects, community-based activities, class/community presentations, and other multimedia forms.

    4) Develop autonomous and critical opinions with respect to the future world, based upon knowledge acquired and produced.

    5) Contribute towards the creation of new ideas, values, ethics, and mentalities that will facilitate intercultural dialogue, tolerance, peace, human rights, solidarity, justice and equity.

    Content Organisation

    The programme of study is modular in structure. Each module, or theme, represents an aspect of the TST that is necessary for its full multidisciplinary examination. While these themes are organised in a fashion that suggests some degree of chronology, no rigidity is ncessary for effective delivery.

    Eight themes are organised into modules that cover the period in African History before the TST to the rise of post slavery African diaspora communities throughout the Atlantic World.

    Learning Modules

    1) Study of Africa in world history before the TST

    i) examination of social, economic, political, and cultural life before the European trade encounter with West Africa, with reference to African contributions to world history

    ii) origins of the TST; its historical context, geography, ideological preparation, and intellectual and scientific rationalisations

    2) Participants in the TST

    i) promoting agents, trade companies, financial institutions, civic organisations, political representatives, and individuals.

    ii) description of various interests, and ideological explanations

    iii) morality/immorality discourse

    3) Magnitude and organisation of the TST

    i) methods of recruitment

    ii) volume, and methods of calculation

    4) Middle passage as a journey:

    i) general conditions of captivity, before, during, and after the Atlantic passage; social, physical, and psychological context

    ii) punishments, mortality and survival

    iii) technology (e.g. ships and chains)

    iv) sex and gender issues

    5) Financial and Commercial organisation

    i) methods and instruments of trade

    ii) viability and profitability

    iii) relationship to economic growth and modernisation

    6) Resistance to the TST

    i) before, during, and after the passage

    ii) among peoples in Africa, the Americas and Europe

    7) The negative and positive impact of the TST; economic, political, social, psychological and spiritual dimensions

    i) on Africa
    ii) on Europe
    iii) on the Americas

    8) The contemporary legacies of the TST:

    i) enduring racial practice and supportive ideologies; aspects of European intellectual and scientific history and culture

    ii) persistent ethnic tension and discord

    iii) uses of history in the searches for justice, peace and tolerance

    iv) contested history; new historical writing; and the politics of organised memory


    Students are expected to communicate conclusions of historical research and discussion in multiple formats; including written texts, projects, classroom and community presentations, exhibitions, oral narratives, and multimedia forms. Assessments may take several forms, including written, oral, or multimedia examinations.


    Written texts will be provided to accompany this programme of study. Core resource materials will be presented in two forms:

    1) A general text:

    - The Transatlantic Slave Trade
    A Student Guide

    2) A collection of documents written and narrated by slaves that detail their own experiences:

    - Slave Voices:
    The Sounds of Freedom

    These materials should be used in conjunction with other multimedia texts that are available. Print materials should be illuminated by the use of visual displays, such as visits to museums, exhibitions and historical sites. They should also be studies in conjunction with oral history sources.

TST News flashes
A Comprehensive Web Resource
2004 Meetings
2003 Meetings
Since 1998
Educational resource for teachers
The Sounds of Freedom
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