One Chicago teacher recently came up with the ultimate Wakanda masterclass. Tess Raser, a 6th-grade teacher at the Dulles School of Excellence on Chicago’s South Side, created the “Wakanda Curriculum,” an in-depth lesson plan designed to help students “engage more critically and thoughtfully with the film,” Blavity reported.
Raser, 28, was moved by the Marvel film and its representation of Black folks after viewing it. This pride, along with her conversations with kids about the movie, drove her to create the curriculum for students in grades five through eight. It also works for high school students, she said.
“I created the curriculum for a couple of reasons,” Raser explained to Blavity in a detailed interview. “For starters, I loved the movie but left with critiques as well, and spent most of the weekend engaging in conversations in regards to those critiques and my friends’ analysis of the film and its characters. I was excited thinking about my students having those conversations as well.”
On Tuesday, Raser began teaching the curriculum, which also acts as a handy guide to help parents talk with their kids about the groundbreaking film.
The curriculum covers “pre-viewing” topics, including the legacy of colonialism and slavery, as well as Afrofuturism, global anti-blackness and African cultural representation in Black Panther. It ends with “post-viewing” lessons that unpack the film’s characters and the roles of women in Wakanda. The plans are designed to further previous study to the African continent and its diversity, Raser wrote in a Google document outlining the Wakanda Curriculum.
“I think representation is essential, and so on a superficial level, the film aesthetically — [an] almost all dark-skinned Black cast, utilizing costumes, hairstyles, references from across the diaspora — is powerful,” she further explained to Blavity. “Then, I began to think about black feminism in the film, the complexities of the characters and how relatable they are. There’s so much.”
The curriculum has been well-received by students, she added, including many kids who have really taken to the exciting world of Wakanda.
Other schools, including Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, have also jumped aboard the “Black-Panther-in-schools” train. Yessss!