New SJC history program to engage students

By Ingrid Fernandez/ Staff Journalist

The History Club at St. Johns College highschool, this week, presented a new curriculum and e-resources for the school’s refurbished history program.
The 128-year-old institution has been offering vibrant teaching of African and Maya history courses to first and second formers since 2013. The revised History program leads the student through the journey of the nation providing alternate perspectives on already-taught topics, for example the indigenous and African populations in the Americas.

It covers the time period of European contact, focusing on the adverse effects of conquest, slavery, post-slavery, the Caste War and post-independent Belize. It offers a view of pre-independent Belize covering British Honduras in the early 20th century, the rise of the worker, the nationalist movement, social and racial consciousness and the road to Independence.

The curriculum places special emphasis on the origins and history of the Guatemalan claim and the modern realities of the debate today.

According to Yasser Musa, head of the SJC history department, introducing these courses demonstrates the institution’s commitment “to rationalize the teaching of history.”
SJC’s rational behind teaching history is to instill in students a strong orientation of their origins, he said.
Lessons about Africa provide students with a solid root-line and dispel all ignorant perceptions about origin and retrograde identity.
By teaching about the Maya, the high-school intends to substantialize the world of the Mayas.

“We teach Maya because we want to make connections, not to a fantasy Maya created for brochures and tour guides, but to the living Maya of Belize fighting for land, for survival, to live and participate in the multi-cultural space we say we want for our modern society,” Musa explained.
The institution’s main objective behind the introduction of these courses is to inspire self-directed learning in students. Teaching history in a substantial way, creates a stirring up of thoughts in students, provoking them to ask questions about the world in which they live, to stand up against injustices and to take self-responsibility to improve their society, he said.

“History is about thinking out loud, arguing, debating, listening to the views of others, and reflecting on the journey of others. We must learn to wear history, not just on our street, or our neighborhood, but in our hemisphere. The global space is pressed against our ears every minute of the day, we press into its screens with force and ease,” Musa expounded.

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