Cultural Celebrations

Facilitate a class exploration of cultural celebrations (e.g. music, dance, art, celebrations of life events, carnival, holidays).

  • Essential questions concerning cultural celebrations: What is a cultural celebration? What are some examples of celebrations? Why are cultural celebrations important? What do they tell us about a community and its members? What cultural traditions and celebrations did enslaved Africans bring to their new communities? To our community?
  • Essential questions concerning cultural diversity: What is cultural diversity?  Why is it important? Do cultural celebrations play a role in sharing and celebrating cultural diversity? 

Activities

Activity: Ask the learners to select and research African cultural traditions and celebrations around the world.  How do these traditions and celebrations manifest themselves in the local community?  Learners might create audio digests, PowerPoint presentations, and photo galleries.

  • Twinning ideas: Partner with another TST school to document and share local cultural celebrations from your local or regional community. You might even interview a local expert to learn about the deeper meaning of the celebration. Consider picking one event or celebration to describe in detail. Do you see any similarities / differences between the shared celebrations? 
     
    • Activity with Technology
      Introduce the partner students to your celebration. Students might create brochures, film parts of the event, or even record the sounds. Create an online gallery. Be sure to include space for feedback, impression, and questions.
    • Classical Activity
      Introduce the partner students to your celebration. Students might draw pictures, create brochures, and transcribe interviews with experts. Exchange packets with your partner school. Write a letter to the partner school with feedback, impressions, and questions.

Examples

ASPnet schools in Barbados celebrate Africa and its history

“Let’s celebrate Africa” festival: examples of commemoration of the African Awareness month from the Grantley Adams Memorial School and Parkinson Memorial Secondary School, Barbados  

Several ASPnet schools in Barbados carry out TST activities during the month of February (African Awareness month). Culture and arts are used at schools to showcase the talents of students, who prepare dance and drama performances, concerts, local culinary specialities, or arts and crafts. The festival’s objective is to make students understand the rich history, values, and traditions which characterise the African contribution to world civilisation and more importantly to Barbadian culture.

In 2010-2011, at the Grantley Adams Memorial School, TST activities aimed at 11-17 year old students culminated in the the African Awareness day celebrations on February 25, 2011. During the day, a large number of performances were organised at school (drama, songs…). One of the most spectacular was the group of student-musicians playing “steel pans” - a musical instrument developed from oil drums by Africans in Trinidad under slavery. This presentation illustrated the legacy of slavery in a very concrete manner.  

At the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School, the TST project “Our African Heritage” targeted 11-13 year old children. Activities focused on cultural heritage as it relates to various art forms, games, historic buildings and monuments. Teachers and local resource persons worked with students on tie dyeing and batik, leather work, basketry, jewellery, pottery or taught them to play traditional games such as warri.

Despite the scarcity of resources, a large variety of activities are organised in Barbados. This is largely thanks to the commitment of teachers and school directors.

 

European ASPnet schools exchange visions in writing and drawing contests

Using creativity for learning on TST: International Drawing Competition and multi-lingual writing contest by the Collège Jacques-Yves Cousteau, France and Nannestad college, Norway

Since 2006, the Collège Jacques-Yves Cousteau has celebrated the French national day of commemoration of the abolition of slavery on May 10. Various events have been organised, for example conferences on local TST history (the city of Le Havre was a slavery trade port), storytelling sessions with an African storyteller and a film presentation on the history of Haiti. The school has actively fostered local and regional expertise, and has built partnerships with TST specialists and institutions in a very successful way.

One of the most unique aspects of the Collège’s activities is the international drawing contest initiated in 2008. The annually organised contest is open to all education levels and has been a success with over 500 young artists from seven countries taking part in the competition. By working on slavery-related drawing, pupils and students were led to reflect upon slavery from various perspectives such as “Slaves’ Daily Life” (2008) or “The African Heritage” (2012) and mobilise knowledge and information from various disciplines.

The school has dedicated a part of its website to TST activities, and more information on all events related to May 10 can be found at

http://cousteau-col.spip.ac-rouen.fr/spip.php?rubrique5

Another original activity on TST was the multi-lingual writing contest from the Nannestad school from Norway. Among other activities, a creative writing competition on TST was announced in December 2011. Contestants were required to write an essay, a work of fiction, a poem or a play script on TST-related subjects. The choice of subject was free, though some propositions were made to facilitate the work: “Women and Slavery”, “Slave Trade Mortality”, “Buying and Selling Slaves”, “Contemporary Slavery” and “Man’s Inhumanity To Man”. Students were able to submit their texts in Norwegian, English, German, French or Spanish, which encouraged collaboration between teachers but also allowed students to mobilise their knowledge in a foreign language. The 1st prize was awarded to two pieces of work, both in English:  a poem and novel. 

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