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Notes for teachers
Contents and use of resources
As with most historical sources, these accounts were written by adults for adults and, consequently, the language may be considered advanced. To help overcome this problem, a full transcript and a simplified transcript have been provided for every source. There is also a link to a glossary on every page. Nevertheless, some pupils may still need extra assistance. Teachers should also be aware that students may need advice on how to refer to the slaves. The accounts use terms such as 'Negro' which are no longer used today.
Each source is accompanied by a page of ‘More Information’ which provides basic background and contextual information. A Links button also appears on every page which directs students to other useful websites. Since the story of slavery is reasonably complex, a timeline has also been provided.
It also supports various aspects of the Knowledge, skills and understanding of the National Curriculum, namely historical interpretation, historical enquiry and organisation and communication. There are also clear links with ICT.
Ideas and activities
(a) All the sources used in this investigation describe life in the West Indies. Ask students to investigate what slave life was like in America. Comparisons could then be drawn between the two.
(b) The sources could be used as a basis for creative writing. For example, the students could take on the role of a doctor called to give medical assistance to the people mentioned in Source 3. What would they report? Imagine it from a pro-abolitionist viewpoint. How might this differ if the doctor was a supporter of slavery?
(c) Suspend disbelief and imagine that tabloid newspapers existed in the early nineteenth century. Ask the students to use the findings of their investigation to write an exposé of slavery. Alternatively, split the class in two and ask one half to write a report that might be published in a broadsheet newspaper.
(d) Sadly, slavery still exists today. Students could be asked to investigate what life is like for slaves in the twenty-first century. Websites such as iAbolish and anti-slavery are good starting points.
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