African Indigenous Proverbs and the Question of Youth Violence: Making the Case for the Use of the Teachings of Igbo of Nigeria and Kiembu of Kenya Proverbs for Youth Character and Moral Education

  • George Sefa Dei OISE, University of Toronto
Keywords: African Indigenous Proverbs, Youth Violence, Responsibilities, Pedagogical Implication, Curriculum

Abstract

The historic and contemporary global concern over youth violence and indiscipline/subordination in schools has educators, school administrators and policy makers working hard to ensure that schools are welcoming and safe spaces for learners. Social harmony can only be achieved by understanding and addressing the causes of youth violence and indiscipline as part of a curriculum of values and character education to ensure effective learning outcomes for all. While the engagement of local cultural resource knowledge has not been prominent in discussions on youth violence and learning, it can be an important tool in educational delivery. This paper identifies the teachings of Indigenous African philosophies, such as proverbs relating to the concept of self and the community, responsibility, respect for self, peers and authority, and mutual interdependence and community building, and their place in school curricular, pedagogical and instructional initiatives to enhance youth learning in Euro-American and African schooling contexts.

La préoccupation mondiale, historique et contemporaine, concernant la violence, l’indiscipline et l’insubordination chez les jeunes dans les écoles pousse les enseignants, les administrateurs et les décideurs à s’acharner sur des solutions pour que les écoles soient des lieux accueillants et sécuritaires pour les apprenants. Dans l’intérêt de l’harmonie sociale, il serait important de comprendre et de s’attaquer aux causes de la violence et l’indiscipline chez les jeunes et ce, dans le contexte d’un programme d’études visant les valeurs et le développement du caractère de sorte à assurer un apprentissage efficace pour tous. L’intégration des connaissances culturelles locales n’a pas été au premier plan des discussions sur la violence et l’apprentissage chez les jeunes; pourtant, celles-ci peuvent constituer des outils pédagogiques importants. Cet article identifie les enseignements des philosophies indigènes africaines tels que les proverbes portant sur le concept de soi et la communauté, la responsabilité, le respect de soi-même, des pairs et de l’autorité, et l’interdépendance et le renforcement de la communauté, pour ensuite discuter de leur rôle dans les initiatives pédagogiques visant l’amélioration de l’apprentissage chez les jeunes dans des milieux scolaires euro-américains et africains.

 

Author Biography

George Sefa Dei, OISE, University of Toronto
Ghanaian-born George Sefa Dei is Professor of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). His teaching and research interests are in the areas of Anti-Racism, Minority Schooling, International Development, Anti-Colonial Thought and Indigenous Knowledges Systems.  He has published extensively in area of African Indigenous Philosophies, inclusive schooling and anti-racism education. He is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award at OISE, University of Toronto for excellence in teaching over the years and the 2014 recipient of the Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize from the University of Toronto for his internationally recognized work on anti-racism and social justice. In June of 2007, Professor Dei was installed as a traditional chief in Ghana, specifically, as the Adumakwaahene of the town of Asokore, in the New Juaben Traditional Area of Ghana. His stool name is Nana Sefa Atweneboah I.
Published
2014-06-30
Section
ARTICLES