1. Exploring local crafts in groups

The traditional crafts of the community will have more meaning for your pupils if you involve them doing some of these crafts. This part explores what your pupils know about local crafts and the people who do them in a practical context. It gives you an opportunity to develop your questioning skills and shows a way to help your pupils raise their own questions.

Painting is one way that communities can record events that have happened. It is also a medium that uses the imagination and so is a good way for pupils to express their ideas and feelings.

Case Study 1 describes how one teacher encouraged her pupils to paint and draw. In Activity 1, you use small-group discussions to explore what pupils know about local crafts, their use and how they are made. This can be a starting point to doing more in-depth research into the crafts in the next activity.

Case Study 1: Looking at painting

Mrs Moyosola from southwest Nigeria was teaching painting. She wanted to encourage her class to paint and draw. She decided to begin by asking her pupils to look at some pictures by modern Nigerian painters from their region.

She had one copy of each picture that she put on the board. She asked the pupils to look at these and say what they liked and disliked. She asked if any of them painted or drew and, if so, what and when. Many did not have access to paper and pens but said they did draw pictures in the sand outside their homes. They were sad that these pictures did not last. Mrs Moyosola asked her class to think about what they would like to paint or draw. She gave them paper and pencils and allowed two art lessons for them to draw and paint. Some painted pictures of their own and others did versions of the modern Nigerian paintings.

Mrs Moyosola displayed these for everyone to share.

Activity 1: Asking questions about local crafts

Collect together some examples of local crafts. You could use the same example for all your groups or a different one for each group.

Organise your class into small groups of four/five pupils.

Ask each group to discuss what they know about one craft. Ask them to start by answering the following questions (write these questions on the board).

  • What is it?
  • What is it used for?
  • What was it used for in the past?
  • How is it made?

Give pupils 10–15 minutes to discuss these questions and to think of one more question to ask about the craft. You could ask older pupils to draw the craft and record their ideas on the drawing.

Then ask them for some of their answers. You may find that they could not answer all the questions, so explain that they are going to do research to gather more information in Activity 2.

Section 2: Organising practical craft activities

2. Developing research skills