Language systems: words, symbols, objects, and pictures

Lesson rationale

There is a vast range of inventive combinations of word, symbol and song across peoples and cultures in West Africa. This interweaving of art, communication forms, languages and writing systems lends itself beautifully to cross-curricular learning. Indeed, the cross-curricular approach enhances students’ ability to understand and learn from West African cultures. For this reason, most of the activities combine, for example Art, History, Geography, RE, English Literature and English Language in different ways.

Key questions in this lesson:

  • What are some of the different communication systems created and used by West African peoples? How could they be grouped?
  • What role do they play (or have played) in the development and ongoing lives of many West African cultures?
  • How can stories help to build an empire?