Toronto’s school authorities are attempting to enage students whose ancestry can be traced to Africa by enfusing an Afrocentric approach in teaching various subjects. For example, students in math develop graphs to trace the origins of Canada’s immigrants, the hope being all students will gain greater awareness if they learn about the backgrounds of other people. If the American experience has anything to offer, it suggets an Afrocentric approach to education is the “means,” not the end. If studying about one’s heritage entices students to learn, it is a successful approach. But, if Afrocentrism entails obtaining data for data sake, there is scant hope it will transform a student who is tuned out to school to tune in.
A problem with all such programs which endeavor to stimulate pride in one’s heritage is how one teaches. If the approach is information rather than stimulating critical and creative thinking, there simply is not enough evidence to suggest students doing poorly will suddenly love school. A “talking teacher” is boring regardless if the teacher is talking about Africa or Canada. There is need in any Afrocentric approach to include activities and materials that engage students with important concepts and challenge them to become critical thinkers.