BELIZE CITY, Tues. Aug. 24, 2021– The Dajeel Taan is the brainchild of Belizean historians, St. John’s College educators, and artists of the Image Factory Art Foundation. It was designed to serve as an ecosystem of learning that imparts to students key lessons in African and Mayan history.
The word “Dajeel Taan” is derived from the Wolof word “dajeel”, which, when translated, means “encounter”, and the Yucatec Mayan word for talking: “Ta’an.” St. John’s College history teacher, Delmer Tzib elaborated on the meaning of Dajeel Ta’an. He said, “The statement Dajeel Ta’an enhances an African and Maya connection and also the nature of our pedagogy of talk and inclusion of voices. We follow the idea that teaching is a process of dialogue between the students and the teacher.”
Tzib explained, “The Dajeel Taan educational project is an effort to decolonize both the history and education of Belize. It encompasses a curriculum, two ebooks, teacher’s guides, and a web page that hosts scanned copies of historical magazines and the blindspot interviews hosted by Juan Reina.”
He further stated that the Dajeel Taan web platform includes a 70-page curriculum that was developed by teachers and artists, along with the historic Brukdown magazine; the Blind Spot Podcast, in which Juan Reina looks at a number of previously unaddressed issues; and a collection of unique artwork, along with a virtual tour of “Di Imagination Factri” on North Front Street. In addition, the creative works of students and various other related media will be featured. The web platform additionally provides teaching guides to allow for easy integration of its content into Belize’s high school system.
The Dajeel Taan platform also features two ebooks that focus on the ideas addressed in the curriculum. One of these is the “Root Line” ebook, which serves as a foundation for 1st form students, in their exploration of Belize’s Mayan and African ancestry, not as a vague aspect of the past but as an active component of our lives today. The “Imagination” ebook is geared towards 2nd form students, and discusses Belize’s formation — from European invasion to Belize’s Independence. The latter book considers the oppression that occurred throughout this period and examines Belize’s development and the various incidents of rebellion during that process. These books were developed primarily for the 1st and 2nd form syllabus.
“We developed this curriculum, books, and teacher’s guides with the hope that other citizens both in the formal educational system and public domain gain interest in it. The project includes teacher’s guides that provide any teacher from any part of the world to teach the curriculum and ideas,” Tzib said.
The Dajeel Taan platform caters to all demographics and can be enjoyed by all persons in Belize and abroad. To access the material, interested persons can visit the webpage at dajeeltaan.org.