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Most members of the society strongly holds that the western system of education is the only means of educating their children/wards, thus anything that does not fall under this ambience should be jettison. Drama and theatre in education utilises the various elements of the theatre and the theories of play for effective child learning. The purpose of this research is to examine African dances and its accompaniments like drumming and songs as medium of inculcating knowledge to children. The lens of study will be directed towards the Drama and Theatre in Education practical 2015/2016 session at Word of Faith Schools, Enen Afaha, Uyo. To many people the African dances are nothing more than entertainment, to others, these dances have only ritualistic bearings. It is on this note that the facilitators collectively adopted African dances for educating the pupils since it shares in the philosophy of Drama and Theatre in Education and it is another strong element of theatre that if properly manipulated could be very resourceful in teaching. This research is done through a detailed analysis of the practical, historical background of some of African Dances, textbooks, Published articles and journals on dance and creative drama. The work will add to the available literature in dance and Drama and theatre in education/creative drama and will be resourceful to future researchers, majors in these different fields and to all lovers of knowledge within and without the four walls of the University.
1.0 General Introduction
African dances (and it’s accompaniments like songs and percussions) are vital tools that could be useful in the propagation of knowledge to individuals ranging from the children even to we adults. Worthy of note is that knowledge transmitted through these medium are not limited to academic knowledge, but include social, cultural, historical and religious knowledge just to mention but a few. To buttress this claim, the Drama and Theatre-In-Education practical 2015/2016 held at Word of Faith Schools would be critically ''x-rayed'' illuminating on the importance of this practical to the participants (children) as regarding knowledge transmission and acquisition.( teaching and learning)
Children tend to appear much more captivated, enthusiastic and respond quickly to any form of learning that offers them ample interactive, playful and fun filled atmosphere to learn. Little wonder Julie Umukoro aptly captures the position of Caldwell Cook : ‘whatever you want a child to do heartily must be conceived and conducted as play’.(288)
On the other hand, Drama and Theatre in Education which falls under the ambience of the theatre discipline aims at educating the children through a play-like approach. Thus the facilitators adopted African dances as vocal tools for educating the pupils since it appeared so appealing, exciting, entertaining and comely to them due to the fact that from all ramifications the approach was novel in the sense that the method differed totally from every other methods of learning they were accustomed to.
1.1 Statement of Problem
It would not be wrong saying that most people compare African dances to the biblical “Little town of Bethlehem”, in the sense that they misperceive it to be some sort of cultic group that engages in ancestral, spiritual and ritualistic practices. As a result of this, some religious organizations, schools and even African homes do not support the introduction of any cultural dance performances or even the use of traditional percussion for fear of not evoking demonic spirits. Adetilewa Toyin attest to this, when he captures that “...some other people see it (indigenous music) as evil or something that is associated with the devil” (188). On the contrary they have ignorantly neglected the positive impacts of these African dances to the society due to our quest to be even more westernized than the westerners or due to our myopic sight.
Thus, the need for this academic piece to douse off these antediluvian (ancient) beliefs as it sheds light on the positive contributions of our dances to the lives of young ones who would in turn grow up to be leaders of tomorrow.
1.2 Justification of the Study
The level of negligence accorded to our indigenous dances in the academic setting owe to reasons such as embrace for westernization/ western education and quest for the “Whiteman’s knowledge”. On the other hand some parents/guardians, would- be parents, proprietors, belief that the best way for a child to learn is through absolute seriousness and reading of books, thus all forms of practices that does not fall under this umbrella are deem to be distractions and at such must be eradicated during this voyage to the attainment of knowledge
Hopefully, if this research work shall successfully debunk these misconceptions, then further examine the merits of African dances and percussions to the academic cosmos leading to a new perspective from which they will be viewed by the general public, then this work shall be clearly justified as a fruitful research piece.
1.3 Purpose of Study
The driving motive for this work is to examine the 2015/2016 Drama and Theatre-In-Education practical, the complexity of adapting African dances and it’s accompaniments as teaching tools. It also aims at conscientizing the minds of individuals who have wrong misconceptions about African dances. Also to pin-point to the general public that though western education is seen as a potent agent useful in the transmission of knowledge but on the contrary it is not the only agent as our indigenous performances have the ability to educate our children
1.4 Scope of Study
Previous research has proven the subject of African dances to be very wide, as they carry within their embrace multi-significance. Interestingly this work will only pay attention to the roles these dances played in the practical and above all it will pay greater attention to the pedagogic roles of selected African dances on the 2015/2016 creative Dramatic practical to examine how it has aided the facilitators in teaching, rather than to embark on writing on other areas associated to these dances, as a result of limited time and page
1.5 Limitation of the Study
This research work is limited by some challenges encountered while sourcing for information, most importantly is that there are limited documented/library sources of African dances and their relevance to Theatre in Education Programmes. Secondly a whole lot of resourceful persons in the dance field due to their busy schedules turned down my request for an interview. In addition to these, due to financial and time restraint, the researcher could not travel to places that would have impacted more positively to this research project.
1.6 The Significance of the Study
Among the significance of this work is that it reveals the educational relevance of our indigenous dances, giving the pupils ample opportunity to learn more about their culture; as our culture is in a pitiable state of ruin. Thus this research advocates for the inclusion of same practice in our educational curriculum especially in the pre and primary schools.
1.7 Organization of the Study
Interestingly this research work is sub-divided into five chapters as follows:
Chapter one: Is the introduction and general background of the research work.
Chapter Two: Is the review of related literatures used in this study
Chapter Three: Analysis of the 2015/2016 Theatre and Drama in Education practical at Word of Faith Schools, Enen Afaha.
Chapter Four: Practical significances of the concept of African dances, songs and drums to the overall success of the project.
Chapter Fiver: Conclusion and recommendations.
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