Indigenous musical play games as cultural resources for the cognitive development promotion in Zambian children: the case of western province.

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Mukela, Reuben Mashebe
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The University of Zambia
The aim of this study was to explore the substantive themes, values and practices underlying the Lozi children’s indigenous musical play games in order to understand their cognitive, socioemotional and educational implications. Conducted in seven districts of Western Province, the study was undertaken because of the realisation that indigenous musical play games as educational resources were given the least attention in the school curriculum. In order to generate data, an ethnographic study with a purposive sample of 144 participants mostly school children, music teachers, college students and music lecturers and expert village musicians, was undertaken. A follow up one day teachers’ workshop was also conducted. Data for the study was coded into themes and analysed using Braun and Clarke thematic approach. The results obtained revealed that indigenous play games were potentially relevant for promoting the nurturance of the most prized Lozi sociocultural core values such as respect and social responsibility. The cultivation and nurturance of these values in the socialisation process of children was an important intellectual milestone in the development of the philosophy of ‘butu’ or being human and was seen as a means of preparing children for fitness in the adult Lozi society. Indigenous play games were also found to be beneficial for promoting the acquisition of survival skills deemed necessary to live and protect the ecocultural environment of the Lozi people. Apart from their social and ecocultural values, indigenous play games were found to be rich educational resources that were underpinned by various intellectual and academic benefits potentially relevant for enhancing children’s acquisition of emergent literacy and numeracy skills of counting. Participation in story and riddle activities had the potential to promote the acquisition of literacy skills of listening and speaking while playing various indigenous board games involving the movement of seeds or stones in dug out holes had the potential to bolster children’s numeracy skills. Notwithstanding their educational benefits, indigenous musical play games remained largely neglected in the school curriculum while most teachers expressed a negative attitude towards them. The implications of the study outcomes revealed that, although these rich cultural resources were educationally valuable, and could be used as entry points to the teaching and learning of various subjects in the school curriculum, they were under utilised. Teachers lacked knowledge of these teaching resources, while the contents of such materials were largely lacking in the school text viii books. The study challenges the Zambian school curriculum that has ignored and neglected children’s indigenous musical play games in preference for borrowed Western games, and recommends for the inclusion of indigenous ones. The study recommends for further research undertakings to establish how such valuable materials could be adapted to yield more positive results, and ensure their preservation from extinction.
Master thesis
Lozi language , Lozi -- Games , Musical plays-- Lozi