ORAL LITERATURE AS A MEDIUM OF TEACHING MORAL VALUES TO SELECTED SCHOOLS IN ORU WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE
1.1 Background of Study
Oral literature means oral works of high merit which are products of the creative use of imagination by the artist of the spoken words in pre-literate communities. Such works are composed mentally by the illiterate raconteur; Stored in the memory and then spoken, recited, chanted or sung on specific occasions (Ikwubuzo, 1993). It consists of both prose, verse, narratives, poems, songs, myths, rituals and dramas, proverbs, folktales and riddles.Values on the other hand is the collection of guiding principles; what one deems to be correct and desirable in life, especially regarding personal conduct. They are beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life (Hornby, 2005). Ogunbameru and Rotimi (2006) observed that “values are all inclusive, deeply internalized personal feeling that direct actions”. Thus, values may not be seen, but are recognized in the behaviour of the child. As leaders of tomorrow, the young ones are given the basic spiritual and cultural training to enable them take over the adult responsibilities in order to maintain and sustain the societal development. The use of Igbo oral literature (Folktale) as a tool for value inculcation to children and youths is the concern of this paper. The emphasis is on Igbo folktales.
It would seem that the study of the cultural achievements that make us human should hold pride of place in every educational system of higher education and research. Nations justifiably look to their universities for the education of their citizens and leaders, and for the production of knowledge necessary for growth, security, and prosperity. More often than not, a university’s core mission is rooted in the humanities—in the study of culture, history, language, literature, anthropology, philosophy, religion, the arts and folklore. The above mentioned disciplines constitute a people’s common heritage. The humanistic disciplines, and particularly folklore, have a clear practical value: they teach critical and analytical thinking while at the same time stimulating the imagination and promoting ethical values. Leaders need these skills to lead, to identify problems, and to conceive creative solutions. Citizens need them to participate actively in public life. Yet the key contribution of the humanities—and folklore in particular—goes beyond cultural education and training in analytical skills.