Dozens of teachers take part in first ever culture education workshop

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By Carlena Knight

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Almost 100 upper primary teachers from private and public schools participated in the first ever culture education workshop held at the Multipurpose Cultural & Exhibition Centre yesterday.

The programme is in partnership with the Department of Culture and the Social Sciences division within the Ministry of Education, Sports and Creative Industries and focusses on exposing teachers to avenues to introduce students to Antigua and Barbuda’s culture.

Teaching strategies for culture in the classroom, demonstrating how to make traditional foods like fungi and cha cha dumplings, pinpointing and sharing details on cultural artifacts, demonstrating how to play traditional games and how to make traditional instruments were just a few of several seminars held during the all-day workshop.

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Public and private school teachers assembled at the Multipurpose Cultural & Exhibition Centre on Friday for the workshop

During the brief opening ceremony on Friday morning, the Minister for Education, Sports and Creative Industries, Daryll Matthew, welcomed the initiative.

He said it is his hope that this will be the first of many such sessions as it is imperative that the nation’s culture is not lost.

Matthew said that it is time for Antiguans and Barbudans, just like citizens of other countries, to do all in their power to keep local heritage alive.

“Let us never get caught in a place where we are ashamed to be who we are. Never let us get caught in a place where we do not feel confident as a people and as a nationality in who we are, irrespective of what the circumstances may be, irrespective of influences.

“In a multi-cultural society like Antigua and Barbuda we can’t allow for this gravitation of persons and these cluster of persons that form within our society to overtake our society with their influence and culture – and to prevent that from happening we must be prepared to let our culture manifest itself in spectacular ways,” Matthew said.

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These are just a few of the traditional instruments and artifacts that were on display yesterday (Photos by Carlena Knight)

He also spoke specifically to the teachers and highlighted the integral role they play in keeping the culture thriving.

“You are the ones that are responsible for creating that curiosity so that, yes, while they go eat their shawarma, pizza and KFC, that they also know how to make fungi and they understand how fungi became a part of our national diet, but unless we know these things, unless someone teaches us these things, we will never know.

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“So, ladies and gentlemen, it’s important — and I am so happy that this initiative is taking place and I hope to see it replicated more and more — because our educators, our teachers, you are the persons that a child interacts with the most, you are the ones that understand the child perhaps maybe even more than some of us; you are the ones that will mould them,” Matthew said.

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