Community Alphabets in Arusha, Tanzania

Last summer LTP offered a workshop in Arusha, Tanzania for 40 elementary school teachers. During the workshop, the Tanzanian teachers created visual alphabets about their community. They used the English and Swahili alphabets as organizational frameworks for their pictures. One group created a visual alphabet representing a local marketplace. Another created an alphabet about their school.

LTP will return to Tanzania this summer to continue working with these teachers and their students. To read more about this project For more information please click here: LTP Tanzania and watch for more blog posts in June and July.

Wendy Ewald’s American Alphabets project began in the early 1990’s when she collaborated with ESL students in Durham, NC. The Spanish-speaking elementary-level students selected words associated with each letter of the Spanish alphabet and then decided how to visually represent these words with objects, gestures, or scenes. Ewald has since worked with children in other parts of the country to create three additional collaborative alphabets, including an African American alphabet in Cleveland, Ohio; a White Girls’ alphabet in Andover, Massachusetts; and an Arabic alphabet in Queens, New York. In Ewald’s American Alphabets (Scalo 2005), the photographs combined with the students’ writing reveal what is important to the students as they highlight cultural aspects of their lives—as immigrants, for instance.

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