Afro-Colombian tales: from ancestral traditions to modern-day customs

Nom du partenaire
  • École de la Paix
  • The ADCLA association - LA TERRASSE
  • Radio Grésivaudan
  • Autre
  • Autre
  • Autre
  • Occasional contributor
  • Occasional contributor
  • Occasional contributor
Name of establishment / organisation
Saint-Ismier general and technological agricultural high school
Contact person
Marie-Claude Jullien-Palletier et Silvia Vila
38332 Saint-Ismier
Start date and duration of project
  • High school
Number of pupils, teachers and staff involved
24 pupils and 2 teachers
Intercultural understanding, Other
Subject areas
Languages, Other
Please specify how the project was carried out


The project was run during lesson time. Radio recordings were also made at school.

Teaching and learning objectives

Pupils invented and wrote bilingual tales in French/Spanish using myths and legends from the South. We translated Latin American tales into French, including Memory of Fire by the Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano. We also studied Les Paroles du Grand-Père (The Words of a Grandfather) by the Franco-Colombian author Conchita Penilla-Céspedes who brings out in her tales the strong African influence within the populations living on the Pacific coast of Colombia. We worked on extracts from Tisserand du soleil (The Sun Weaver) by Kathy Dauthuille. This approach enabled pupils to understand the prevailing syncretism amongst populations in Latin America.

How did the project originate? What needs does it address?

Developing a project based on tales enabled us to see how native Colombians consider the world in everyday life. Using tales provided a means of working on aspects of nature and of helping pupils understand more about skills and expertise in other countries.


January 2014: Activity run by the École de Paix association and the Association for the Promotion of Latin American Culture: presentation of tales from Latin American folklore, of Colombian art, in particular the painter Kintana, and exploration of indigenous art through understanding symbols.
February 2014: Afro-Colombian tales and their codes, role, founding references and modern-day resonance. Translation and story telling.
February to March 2014: Writing of Latin American tales or fables in French and Spanish using the elements (water, trees, forests, life, etc.)
May/June 2014: story telling via radio with Radio Grésivaudan

Attached documents
Did your project have a final outcome ?

We developed radio programmes in which French pupils invented Afro-Colombian tales which they recorded so they could be sent to pupils in Chocó. Pupils put together a collection of bilingual tales which is kept in the school.

What communications and dissemination strategy was used for the project ?

Our idea was to establish a real exchange with communities in Latin America, in particular through the radio programmes which were listened to by pupils in Colombia.

What outcomes and changes did the project generate ?

This project enabled pupils to question their link to nature, to the environment, but also to long-forgotten or little known references from myths and legends which contribute towards building an individual's sense of identity. Taking the example of Colombia and the cultural identity of its peoples gave pupils an interesting perspective to be able to interpret their own environment better. Our pupils discovered this country whilst learning about international solidarity. They learnt to work in innovative ways through the three subject areas involved in the project (French literature, Spanish and Philosophy) and by using the medium of radio, a tool which is suitable and accessible.

What difficulties did you encounter when implementing your project ?

We would have liked to carry out a more comprehensive project. The funding available did not enable us to plan enough. For example, it was difficult to invite external contributors to get involved without knowing whether it was going to be possible to pay for their transportation. For the teachers, it was also difficult to find the time and availability to devote to the project outside lessons.

What factors made it easier to carry out your project ?

The cross curricula nature of the project was a real asset. Working as a group with teachers from various subject areas (French, Philosophy, Spanish) brought a wealth of perspectives to the project.

How did you assess the project ?

Pupils were assessed for each piece of work submitted (for example, a report about an activity run by external contributor, or the tale in French and Spanish).

Any comments

The year after this project was run, the school took on a different project focussing on young people and armed conflict.
- In philosophy classes pupils looked at the notion of a nation state, of laws and rights through a teaching tool entitled 'Rights of the Child' made into a bilingual resource.
- In French classes, pupils used texts from French literature (or literature written in the French language) and composed their own creative writing pieces in the form of speeches, dialogues, letters and so on.
- In Spanish classes, linguistic and cultural resources (personal video accounts or articles from the press) were used to compare the role of young people in various situations of conflict. 
The pupils illustrated their creative writing with documents (photos, stories, extracts from articles, art - songs, mural paintings, etc.) to compare children in conflicts, past and present, which will be published in a blog. Through the example of the Colombian conflict, pupils learnt about the importance of rehabilitating these young soldiers, both boys and girls, who manage to find hope for a new life.


Intercultural understanding