- Posted by Newsroom
- On December 10, 2019
- 0 Comments
- Pauline Esievo, urhobo language
Urhobo Language today: Hoollowing the 2019 BBNaija edition though not keenly, I connected mentally with Venita Apkofure’s creative energy and poetic expression, ‘born British raised Nigerian’ . Someone added, “a mix of beauty and brain “. I am positive that the Urhobo nation look forward to having more of such vibrant personalities with a sense of ‘self’ and Africaness, irrespective of where they are born or raised. While it is important to raise, up coming generations who will be locally and globally relevant, and representative of the Urhobo brand, it is also necessary to have such persons compete without losing their identity.
Values are taught and passed through stories. Sometimes, Story telling is an account of real events and at other times, it exists in myth- not real, fales or fabricated, the origin of the world or of a people. Story telling is educative, no longer time nor space bound. Story tellers have taken advantage of the cyberspace and the storytelling skills to enhance learning. This age long cultural expression and the cyberspace form a formidable force to reckon with, especially with regards to language learning. Cyber culture, the use of “computer for communication”, including language learning and family interactions, form the basis of this writeup.
Many households have educational tablets for their kids, with loads of cartoons, animations, games, school based subjects and collections of songs that appeal to kids. Thanks to the Urhobo Cartoon Network. Urhobo cartoons and lessons can be uploaded in any of the existing educational tablets to enhance language learning for children. Animations, cartoons, Stories that portray numbers, letters, concepts and names of objects will suffice for a start and subsequently, the rudiments and ethics of the Urhobo language can be added to what is already obtained. Some of these educational brands have accessories and relevant apps for learning, WiFi, chargers and a user friendly screen- touch device for kids instead of the regular use of the index finger.
The idea of learning an indigenous language through this means may appear foreign and awkward to some children but they will in no time come to terms with the reality. To some parents, this also could be seen as going overboard but the outcome of e-learning is far more rewarding than the traditional learning method, and perhaps easier for parents with fixated schedules. For instance, when a parent is less busy, a child or children can be called upon to relate lessons learnt and the child-learner will in turn feedback parents. Visual learning aids have shown to have created lasting impression on children; this method of learning will also help the child develop critical thinking skills and the ability to provide informational feedback on any task given or carried out. Generic tablets are quite inexpensive and will serve the purpose of e-learning aid. The world has gone beyond the use of white boards and markers though still largely in conventional use.
Alternatively, and my point of emphasis, Urhobo cartoon producers and language teachers can collaborate towards producing a brand of Urhobo educational tablet for children. The curriculum can be structured in simplified modules and lessons- slides, to enhance and create pedagogic effects. Like other brands with specified subjects, the exclusive brand can also feature video clips of different episodes of the popular ‘auntie Rukki’, playing different roles that will teach children the basics and core of the Urhobo language, and adults who wish to add value. Other brands of animations and cartoons, besides ‘aunty Rukki’ can also adopt the proposed medium of expression. This will further help minors learn at their pace and space while playing. Devices like CDs are viable options to teach the language but children are more fascinated by tablets and their colourful, graphic images. Besides, this is also a way of inculcating the cyber culture in kids to flow with current trends.
Additionally, the creation of a downloadable app to learn Urhobo language is ideal for adult learners, making the language more accessible. A popular Nigerian artiste, Teniola Apata, claimed she could not speak Yoruba in Nigeria, until she traveled out of the Nigerian shores to study. She studied Yoruba as an elective instead of Spanish. She now sings in Yoruba, making a great fortune. The creation of Apps with local contents will not only generate revenue but will attract more learners and speakers, leading to a more progressive language. This style of e-learning is more personalized, makes the learning process easier and more convenient. It also facilitates the learning process of other languages.
Like the mainstream online course, the idea of a customized brand for the Urhobo child learner is suggestive of an e-class, flexible, manageable, not bound by space nor time. The high level of concentration children demonstrate when glued to a cartoon or animation episode remains a mystery and provides a magical atmosphere for children to learn. Downloadable workbooks and Quizzes in the language, possibly with answers in English should follow each lessons or modules to test the child’s knowledge of lessons learnt. The customized brand can be commercialized like other educational brands to promote the language and to expand its base. Every Urhobo household can get the proposed brand to augment efforts of parents in teaching the language. Children at a point, are likely to downplay the importance of e-learning if left alone without guidance but parents ought to play an interactive role to ensure interest is sustained.
On the contrary, there are arguments and submissions surrounding the use of digital-based toys for children, tablets inclusive. Digital based toys or gadgets according to a grapevine is unsafe for kids because of the emanation of light from the screen of such devices. The definition of children was not clearly stated but suggest toddlers, early childhood, especially to those years before attendance at primary school; children within the age of 1 to 4/5 fall within this group. However, six(6) to eight(8) hours a week, dedicated to language e-learning will not cause harm to children of six(6) years and above.
Ultimately, the idea of branding a tablet strictly for Urhobo e-generation children and creating an app for adult learners of the language, may appear abstract to some individuals but it is truly worthwhile. Putting one’s thoughts together in the proposed formats, will enhance productivity and marketability. That is, the Urhobo Cartoon Network and other upcoming brands can be promoted through this medium to generate income. This will further propagate the language home and in the diaspora. This on the long run, will produce more vibrant generations of Urhobo speakers with inflamed imagination. Besides preserving the language, this will also help parents who are not versed in the language catch up.
Pauline O. Esievo