Teaching Students About Ivory Coast
Teaching students about other countries and cultures is an essential part of today’s educational process, and the Ivory Coast or Côte d’Ivoire, a country located in West Africa, offers a fascinating study. By learning about its history, cuisine, arts and music, language, and customs, students will gain a better understanding of the rich cultural diversity that makes the Ivory Coast so unique.
History of Ivory Coast
The discussion should start with a brief account of the country’s history. The area now known as the Ivory Coast was inhabited by several small kingdoms prior to European colonization. The Europeans, mainly France, started trading with these kingdoms and ultimately colonized the region. Although it gained independence in 1960 under the leadership of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Ivory Coast has faced political instability in recent years.
Geography and Economy
Diving into the country’s geography is essential for understanding its economic activities. The Ivory Coast borders Liberia and Guinea to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, Ghana to the east, and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on its southern coast. Its lush landscapes include beaches, rainforests, mountains, and savannahs.
One significant aspect of Ivory Coast’s economy is its cocoa production; it is the largest cocoa producer in the world. Additionally, the country exports various agricultural products such as coffee, palm oil, rubber, and cotton.
When exploring other countries and cultures, food often plays an essential role. Students should learn about some typical Ivorian dishes like fufu (starchy side dish made from plantains), kedjenou (slow-cooked chicken stew), attiéké (cassava-based side dish), and aloko (fried plantains). They can discuss how geography influences local ingredients and cooking styles.
Arts and Music
Arts and music help shape a society’s identity, and Ivory Coast boasts vibrant artistic scenes. Students can learn about Baoulé or Guro masks, intricate traditional textiles like the Kente cloth, and contemporary artists such as famous painter Paul Kodjo.
The high-energy rhythms of coupé-décalé music have taken West Africa by storm, originating in Ivory Coast. Studying this music genre will open students’ ears to the vibrant sounds popular in the region.
Language and Customs
To provide a deeper understanding of the culture, it is crucial to talk about language and customs. Students should be aware that French is the official language, whereas over sixty ethnic groups speak their own dialects.
Discussing customary practices with students – such as marriage ceremonies, festivals, clothing, and social etiquette – will offer them insights into daily life in Ivory Coast.