Identifying stereotypes through images

As part of a unit of work on Kenya, pupils examined the stereotypes they held of life in Africa. They completed a questionnaire on their ideas about Africa and Kenya and, prior to sharing the results of these, looked at stereotypical images of Welsh people. They discussed where their information on Africa came from and why they had developed the stereotypes. Most pupils put charities (particularly Comic Relief) and disaster reports as their main sources.

This introductory exercise was followed by research using a wide range of resources from Oxfam including videos, books, maps and photographs. Pupils used prompt sheets to focus their thinking and help them to interrogate the photographs in detail. They explored the life and environment of the Masai people and compared it to that of the Kikuyu people. To challenge their stereotypes of African cities, the pupils were given a set of photographs (all taken in Nairobi) and asked to sort them into two piles, those taken in the UK and those taken in Nairobi.

The work concluded with another questionnaire to examine their understanding of the unit and to see whether their perceptions of Kenya had changed. All of the pupils thought they had learned a lot from the work and that the stereotypes they held had been challenged and then exploded.

This case study is taken from Education for Sustainable development and Global Citizenship, ACCAC et al, 2002.

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Teaching resources: Find free teaching resources involving photo activities

Local support: If you are inspired by this case study and would like to do something similar in your school, or are looking for ideas for developing the global dimension, why not contact your nearest Development Education Centre?

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