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Ottawa, Institute for Development Education through the Arts, 1987. $80.00. Kit contains slides and Teacher's Guide. Distributed by IDEA, 431 Gilmour Street, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0R5.

Grades 5 and up
Reviewed by Graham A. Draper

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

It is difficult to produce a teaching resource that strikes that fine balance between enough information to be useful and enough flexibility to spur creativity. This is one kit that manages it.

This teaching kit on the art of West Africa is built round a set of slides that illuminates the major forms of artistic expression in this culturally diverse part of the continent. Supporting the slide set are seven information packages on the themes of architecture, carving, cloth, drums, masks, pottery and story-telling. Each package consists of six or seven student information sheets that give an overview of the theme, describe how artifacts are made and used, discuss the ways in which the art forms reflect the values of the society, and provide interviews with artisans working in the field. Questions are blended into the information sheets. Hands-on craft activities are included for each theme.

The forty-page teacher's guide promotes an "object discovery" method of teaching in which students learn about a people's culture by critically examining the objects that they make and use. Students use their observations of specific items-masks, carvings, buildings—to make broader statements about the people. General strategies and quite specific activities are suggested to help teachers use this approach. The guide also contains notations on the information packages, commentaries on the slides, a list of additional resources, and a bibliography on each of the themes.

Overall, this is a very useful teaching kit with no major flaws. Recommended for social studies and art courses.

Graham A. Draper, Langstaff Secondary School. Richmond Hill, Ont.
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