The Four Fundamentals of Africana Pedagogy
Sankofa Freedom Academy is a school which utilizes Africana pedagogical methodologies to help our children reach their full potential. We are confident that these methods can touch the spirit of all children. We take joy in the diversity of our scholar body, almost 100% of whom are descendents of African and Indigenous people. We first and foremost define ourselves as descendents of African people who have spread out all over the world. We speak many different languages, have many cultures within the African Diaspora, and have many traditions. Yet we share much in common as one people whose consciousness has been shaped for centuries by the worldview of African and Indigenous people. We have a model that is rooted in African Centered pedagogical practices which are universal in scope and designed to assist us all in reaching our potential as fully actualized human beings.
Given this, how is African Centered defined? What does it mean to exercise Africana thought or action, to have an Africana worldview, and ultimately to infuse African-Centered education in a school environment? There are many definitions of terms and concepts, some do not totally agree with others, and there is much debate on the issue. However, for Sankofa Freedom Academy, African-Centered education is defined with The Four Fundamentals of Africana pedagogy, developed by our CEO /Founder Dr. Mama Ayesha Imani.
1. Use of African Centered Values System to insure physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually safe environment for scholars and staff to develop into their best selves and contribute to their families, communities, race, environment, and world. (Sankofa examples of this are the emphasis and application of the virtues of Maat and Nguzo Saba as the cornerstone of the code of conduct. The recitation and application of these principles and virtues are essential.)
2. Curriculum Infusion of the Aesthetic and Development of a Critical and Cultural Lens. The history, culture, orature, literature, contributions, value system, and aesthetic of African people are infused throughout the formal and informal curricula and rehearsed and celebrated both in and outside of the classroom. Scholars are helped to develop a critical and culture lens through which to view the rest of the world and are reminded in each. (Sankofa examples of this are the infusion of the contributions of African people in all content areas, the use of African and African American proverbs, folktales, stories, and other literary forms. The teaching of Mdw Ntr and the teaching of ancient Africana civilizations across the curriculum are other examples.)
3. Use of Rituals, Rites, Enculturation Practices. Throughout the year Sankofa will adopt enculturation practices designed to assist scholars in internalizing the values, remembering the sacrifices, and continuing the culture of African and Indigenous people. Sankofa examples of this are: Ungalia, Pouring of Libations, Recitation of Ankh Ws Snb, Celebration of Kwanzaa and Umoja Karamu, Use of traditional Africana greetings and protocols, Rites of Separation, Rites of Discovery, and Rites of Passage programs.
4. Pedagogy (Teaching and Learning Approaches). African Centered Education is not just about what we teach but how we teach and assess. This means scholars are using approaches that are culturally synchronistic and consistent with the learning styles of African Children as in the literature by many Black psychologist and educators, and derived from ancient and traditional African methodologies of teaching and learning. This means approaches to teaching and learning that are: experiential, intergenerational, communal, collaborative, dialogic, family and community based, expressive, purposeful, constructivist, generationally, socially, politically, economically relevant to the lives, experiences, and destiny of African people. Sankofa examples of this are cooperative and collaborative forms of learning, service and social justice projects, environmental projects, use of music, poetry, and art in teaching and learning, incorporation of sound and movement, intergenerational learning assignments such as interviewing elders in the family, or constructing family trees, use of inquiry based approaches, and peer tutoring. Attention will also be paid to the wellness and healing arts in order to assist members of the community in obtaining and maintaining healthy lifestyles.