By David Lance,
AFRO MDDC Intern
Author David Miller knows a thing or two about reaching back into your past to inform the future. Right now he is once again back in Ghana, Africa- but this time, he’ll be coming back with something for the youth.
Over the next five weeks, Miller will work closely with native Ghanians, expatriates and like-minded African Americans to construct a new curriculum for students in the U.S.
The new curriculum will focus on life in Ghana.
“I will be traveling with 13 other educators and researchers and we will be spending five weeks in Guyana, we’ll be in the capital city of Accra. We’ll be going to Kumasi and we’ll be going up to Cape Coast with the slave dungeons,” Miller explained. “Our goal is to develop a curriculum to teach children in the U.S. what life is like living in Ghana.”
The program is being created for students at every level of grade school- from kindergarten to high school. Miller and other researchers will have a chance to study at the University of Ghana and learn from those in the departments of education, agriculture, tourism and many more.
According to Miller, there is no other place to immerse yourself and learn about these topics than Africa. “The reality is we do an extremely poor job of teaching history, geography, religion and spirituality,” Miller explained. “There is no other place in the world that I think is best suited to spend time immersing, documenting and synthesizing the contributions that Africa has made to the rest of the world.”
This year will be Miller’s tenth time traveling in Ghana and he is looking forward to the trip.
One thing that Miller hopes, when the curriculum is developed, is the harmful stereotypes surrounding Africa will be broken and it will be recognized in the U.S. as the beautiful continent that it is.
“I remember the first time I was going to Ghana about 10 years ago, one of my cousins who was older than me was afraid because, in his mind, he felt like as soon as I got off the plane, I could be attacked by wild animals,” said Miller. “There’s still a lot of myths and stereotypes about African family life, and just life in general in Africa.”
As an educator himself, Miller sees the value in history and he has not ignored the significance of making this trip during Juneteenth.
“There’s going to be sort of a welcoming celebration and a Father’s Day celebration where we’ll be meeting and having conversations about fatherhood and the significance of Juneteenth,” Miller said. “Most people have never heard of Juneteenth, even though in some parts of the United States, Juneteenth has been celebrated for over 50 years. So I think it’s critically important that we honor and celebrate Juneteenth as part of our continued struggle for liberation in this country.”
While in Ghana, Miller plans to highlight some work done by various Black and Brown authors.
“I’m actually doing a special presentation at the Ghana central library in Accra, where they’re going to be doing some of my work,” said Miller. “And I will actually take with me about 25 titles of children’s books written by Black and Brown authors in the United States.”
Miller was a teacher for two and a half years before winning a Fulbright fellowship and leaving the classroom. He then went on to write his first curriculum called “Dare to be King.”
As a former teacher, Miller hopes that this new curriculum will not only inspire children but adults as well. “We have to make sure that teachers are on fire for education.”
“When I was a classroom teacher in Baltimore, I was on fire entering the classroom because I knew that’s what the teachers needed to do,” Miller continued. “It’s not just about the content, it’s about our ability as educators to motivate and inspire.”
A draft for this new curriculum is tentatively slated to be released in October of this year.
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