Drum Languages Project


Talking drums in the classroom:
Enhancing Yoruba language learning using an ancient tradition

This ongoing educational research is part of the NWO-funded drum languages project “When Language Has a Beat” at the Utrecht University. The research aims at using traditional talking drums to enhance the existent curriculum on Yoruba (a prominent indigenous language in Nigeria) within the Nigerian formal educational system. The research explores how talking drums, which are traditionally employed in Yoruba societies as a communal didactic tool for learning the cultural heritage, can be incorporated in classrooms to achieve similar pedagogical and cultural benefits in a modern context. In a pilot study, we have developed an educational program for enhancing the instruction of Yoruba using talking drums. Two schools, Tunji David Memorial School, Bariga (Lagos Mainland) and Dowen College, Lekki (Lagos Island) in Nigeria, were selected for the pilot study. The participants include Yoruba teachers, a master drummer of the ìyá-ìlù dùndún, educationists, and pupils between 6 and 16 years old, who are L1 and L2 speakers of Yoruba Language. The pupils were taught the Yoruba language and cultural heritage by the Yoruba teacher, based on the Yoruba language school curriculum, followed by the drummer and the teacher engaging the students through the talking drums, in class activities and interactive assessments. Data was elicited qualitatively through questionnaires and oral interviews.




Educationist 1: Mr. Edward Olutomi Oludare

E-mail: edwardoludee@gmail.com

Educationist 2: Mrs. Adaobi Ogunlade

Ìyá-ìlù dùndún drummer: Ayanlere Alajede


School 1: Tunji David Memorial school, Lagos mainland

School proprietor: Mr. Olatunji Tolulope

Yoruba class teacher: Mr. Olatunji Tolulope

E-mail: olatunjitllp@gmail.com


School 2: Dowen college, Lagos Island

VP/ Deputy head: Mr. Muraina Olusesi

Yoruba class teacher: Mr. Bolaji Oketokun

Website: http://www.dowencollege.org.ng/


Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Yoad Winter

Lead Researcher: Dr. Olupemi Oludare

Researcher: Mariano Gonzalez (Ph.D. candidate)

The project is financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO: 360-89-060)