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Juniata College

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression

Abstract

During the time of independent study, I split my time between the Northern and Ashanti Regions. I lived in a village by the name of Gumo outside of Tamale and in the Ashanti Region; I stayed in Benim located near Ashanti Mampong. While my home was in each respective village, I traveled to surrounding areas to expand the scope of my research and provide conclusive evidence. I spent my time among the children observing, learning, and recording their interactions. Living in the village gave me the chance to experience the daily lives and actions of the children. Using participant and non-participant observation engaging in the lives of the kids I produced the majority of my research. I then, both informally and formally interviewed children of all ages, adolescents, parents, and teachers. This age range provided a solid foundation for my findings.

The data I collected from the village stays covers a vast amount of children and their interactions- how they care for one another, teach, learn, and play. While Gumo and Benim are incredibly different, there was a striking resemblance between the different worlds and the lives of children. In both places, children were all obedient and gave respect to parents and elders. In general, each child will do what he or she can to prove he or she is “moral” or a good person – a benefit to the community. Additionally, lives of children are very physical and hands on whether it was through interactions with other people or doing work for their families. Furthermore, children learn through imitation of all kinds beginning at a young age. To support my findings I had six formal interviews and formal group questions for primary schoolchildren in p5 and p6 at St. Charles r/c Lwanga Primary outside of Tamale metropolis. I also had a variety of informal interviews with children ranging in age from 4 years old to adults in the communities.

While riddled with differences the basic lives, games, learning, and roles of children in each village appeared parallel with one another. Being a child in Gumo, Benim, or another village is a life among children emulating the lives of adults and elder peers. Further studies are needed to examine deeper the ways in which children are taught to follow their elders and if they understand the actions, they embody. Additionally, exploring ways in which children express emotions and feelings they have need to be explored.

Disciplines

African Languages and Societies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology of Culture

 

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