“Kwesukasukela”- From many, many millet granaries ago to Once upon a time: Ubuntu’s 21 century skills intermingled with oral traditional storytelling

Suzette Duarte Oliveira - Colégio Luso Internacional do Porto / inED



Este estudo pretende discutir a implementação da pedagogia da gamificação ao nível do 1º Ciclo do Ensino Básico do ensino de inglês, que pode ajudar a promover o desenvolvimento das competências do século XXI (Cruz & Orange, 2016) e, também, visa a discussão da filosofia “Ubuntu”, que pode ser articulada com a narrativa tradicional oral, como meio de transformação e de trabalho com a diversidade, para promover a coesão social e o desenvolvimento sustentado (Battiste, 2005; Themane, et al., 2011). Recorreu-se a uma abordagem metodológica etnográfica, com triangulação de instrumentos de recolha de dados (questionários, grelhas de análise de manuais, planos de aula, fichas de autoavaliação e trabalhos de projeto). Os resultados mostram que a relação entre tarefas gamificadas e a narrativa tradicional oral requer um currículo espiral para o desenvolvimento de competências  por parte dos alunos, ao mesmo tempo que funcionam como uma rede de segurança para a exploração e prática dos mesmos. Os principais resultados mostram que a abordagem da gamificação pode auxiliar na progressão do diálogo, promover a consciência cultural crítica e acelerar o efetivo entusiasmo e trabalho cognitivo dos alunos, promovendo o desenvolvimento de competências desta natureza (Shatz, 2015; Cruz, & Orange, 2016).

Palavras-chave: competências do século XXI, gamificação, filosofia de “Ubuntu”, narrativa tradicional oral



The cynosure of this paper is to discuss the implementation of the Gamification pedagogy in the primary English learning context which may help to foster the development of 21st century skills (Cruz & Orange, 2016) and by also targeting on the Ubuntu’s philosophy which can be engaged within African oral tradition storytelling as a means of transformation and of accommodating diversity to foster social cohesion and sustainable development (Battiste, 2005; Themane, et al., 2011). An ethnographic methodological approach has been resorted to by including quizzes, project development and the expansion of creative and collaborative critical thinking skills. Results show the intermingling of gamified tasks with oral traditional storytelling requires a spiral curriculum for pupils’ enhancement, while embodying a learning community which provides a safety net for pupils’ exploration and practice. The main results show that the gamification approach can assist in the progression of dialogue, can promote critical cultural awareness and can expedite pupil’s cognitive and affective enthrallment and engagement, whereby fostering the development of 21st century skills (Shatz, 2015; Cruz, & Orange, 2016).

Keywords: 21st Century skills, gamification, Ubuntu philosophy, African folktale



In this paper, African Bantu oral tradition stories are integrated into classroom practices as a means of transformation and of accommodating diversity to foster social cohesion and sustainable development (Battiste 2005; Themane et al. 2011). Introducing African folktales to pupils, is a socio-cultural attempt of utilizing folklore with pedagogical value and significance, whilst acknowledging that it may bring inherent benefits as pedagogical tools to the classroom.  

We believe that alongside oral tradition stories, the integration of the Ubuntu philosophy within storytelling is about the engaging of our relational selves, where “the story of one cannot be told without unfolding the story of many” (Mucina, 2001). Ubuntu reflects a reality and a duty to come together in order to create a solution whereupon democratic participation is required. Achievement is attained through self-driven and self-reflection processes.  

These approaches can be effective means towards the building of collaborative, creative and critical thinking skills and communicative competencies when pupils are given the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings, to reflect upon the process and to make meaningful connections. We believe that successful learning is due to motivational and experiential learning and serves as a springboard towards further development. The anchors of the 21st Century Skills learning domain are stimulated namely through collaboration and communication, creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving (Cruz & Orange, 2016).

Hereon, the encompassing of oral traditional storytelling, present in the literature of Mucina, (2011), whereby defining Ubuntu’s storytelling elements, as well as resorting to the integration of an experiential communicative approach (Fernández-Corbacho, 2014), is the fundamental focus of this paper. The application of the contextual environment of Gamification integrated learning is also addressed, while taking into account certain gamified strategies and its elements, according to Foncubierta & Rodríguez (2015). This is contemplated with the primal purpose of achieving educational intendment which may result in significant and easily recalled experiences. Consequently, showing that with teacher’s support and guidance may serve to encourage dialogue, develop cultural awareness and expedite pupil’s cognitive and affective engagement. 



In capacious parts of Africa, villagers congregate around a central fire as they settle down to hear and listen to emanating stories. The art of storytelling is the telling of many interesting and captivating folktale, which has been a primal ritual for the African people. Storytelling is an intimate and universal art form that is over 50,000 years old (Sheppard, 2009). The stories’ narration is amalgamated with singing, drumming, percussion instruments, clapping, and dancing (Achebe, 1958). Having the psychological intent of exposing the villager’s children to these stories, this offers a solid justification and reason for telling folktales (Ngugi wa Thiong'o, 1964). By predominantly following a sequential order but having no written framework, stories are revealed and told subjectively (Tuwe, 2016), all to be kept alive while challenging the test of time. 

Storytelling, in agreement with Gbadegesin (1984), is a method of recording and expressing feelings, attitudes and responses of one’s lived experiences and environment. It holds the primordial intention of: a) mediating and transmitting knowledge and information across generations; b) conveying information to younger generations about culture and world-views; c) it serves to convey morals and to heighten expectations; d) and may percolate norms and values (cf. Ngugi wa Thiong'o, 1982). 

As in folktales, which are also known as oral narratives, they have no accountable authors, yet they are often expanded and shaped by the storyteller’s tongues and passed down from one generation to the next. Storytelling can be equaled to folktales as being the retelling of a tale to one or more listeners through voice, intonation and kinaesthetic gesturing. The storyteller creates and generates a series of mental metaphors and images associated with words (Tuwe, 2016). Ensuing and aggregated to storytelling are songs, music, dances, plays, dramas and poetry (Utley, 2008), which can be noted and serve as pedagogical tools within the classroom walls.  

Reference should be made to the fact that storytelling and folktales pose several benefits, in the sense that and according to Nomlomo & Sosibo (2016), folktales are a rich and perennial reservoir through which young learners can acquire not only literacy skills, but also cognitive, linguistic skills and social skills. In turn, folktales can serve as a springboard which can help pupils become active citizens of the world (Nomlomo & Sosibo 2016). Consideration should therefore be given that it is within the English language classroom that its primary concern is for pupils to communicate across cultures, across borders and across perspectives (Oliveira & Cruz, 2017).

Therefore, within the African concept of “Ubuntu”, the following advertence should be made: “Ubuntu” is a philosophical worldview that guides our action in order to maintain the relational bonds (Mucina, 2011), thereby stating that “I am because we are”, which can be recalled and embellished in Mandela’s (1994) enshrinement. Amid African stories, clear reflection of the relationships between humankind and the animal world should be made and paralleled. Undoubtedly, the whole concept is centred on people or humanity (Mandela, 1994), whereby recognizing the relational interconnectedness to all elements and beings on earth (Mucina, 2011). Furthermore, there is an assimilation of the following philosophical principles: a) showing a clear ancestry reflection, “Umuntu ngumuntu ngubuntu” (a person is a person through other people), meaning that all things know each other in relationship to and with each other; b) great importance to “Ubuntu” spirituality and energy flux is given because it is through a spiritual circle that holistically we are one; c) there is common belief that the experience we have with specific elements, such as land and water helps us to develop language and knowledge in an effort to respect the space we occupy (cf. Mucina, 2011).

It is also according to Mucina (2011) that “Ubuntu” has always used the art of oral storytelling to extol the power of experience as a teaching tool. These stories endeavor explanations of natural phenomena, instill morality, may provide a sense of identity as well as instruction and entertainment (cf Ngugi wa Thiong'o, 1982). Furthermore, and in agreement with Tuwe (2016), storytelling incorporates cultural proverbs and parables. Other primordial “Ubuntu” storytelling elements include the repetition of language, words or phrases, rhythm and gestures. These techniques can help with overall understanding and recollection, it also aids in pupils’ active participation. Moreover, they are able to learn important aspects of the African culture, whilst serving as a unique way for pupils to develop an understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures, which can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands, races and religions (Oliveira & Cruz, 2017).

Ubuntu storytelling, according to Mucina, (2011), is a functional and viable teaching approach which has been ignored at one’s peril. Academic decolonization (Dei, 2000) has failed to recognize that Ubuntu’s indigenous knowledge may adjoin multiple and collective origins, as well as the collaborative dimensions of knowledge with the intent of aiding in the interpretation or analysis of social reality (cf. Dei, 2000). In consonance with and to our belief, the interplay of different knowledge is one of the many reasons why indigenous knowledge must be taught in the academy (Dei, 2000). The ultimate goal of integrating indigenous knowledge within the learning environment is to affirm a collaborative dimension of knowledge, and furthermore, to address the emerging call for academic knowledge to address diversity in stories, events, experiences and ideas, which are the building blocks for human development (cf. Dei, 2000; Mucina, 2011). By acquiescing that knowledge is not static but rather refurbishing, then indigenous knowledge needs to be an integral part of the ongoing co-creation and re-creation of academic knowledge (Dei, 2000). Ultimately, the prized objective of Ubuntu storytelling is to maintain cultural continuity as it is to allow for cultural directional change (Mucina, 2011). Guilelessly, “Ubuntu” storytelling is an effort to create shared interpretation structures about experience, in order for change to have shared meaning (idem).

According to Mucina (2011), a couple of common traits found within the Ubuntu indigenous knowledge production structure, when storytelling, might include; a) the ability to engage the storyteller and the listener in an interactive performance; b) the repetitive quality of the spoken language provides markers for the listener, which can serve as important lessons facilitators that are rooted from within the story. These markers are subtly introduced when the storyteller enunciates certain primers, whereby drawing together villagers, old and young, around a communal evening fire (idem). 

In the South African Zulu language, these “Ubuntu” storytelling teaching primers follow this exemplified production structure. The opening formula “Kwesukasukela” which, according to Wangusa (1989), represents “Many, many millet granaries ago”, and analogously in Western standardized stories, “Once upon a time”, the audience is urged to offer the following response “Cosi”, which can be interpreted as a “small quantity” (Masubelele, 2008). At the end of the tale, the storyteller will conclude with the following popular formula, “Cosi cosi iyaphela”, meaning “this is the end of our story”. A final prompt from the audience might be “Siyabonga! Yaze yamnandi indaba yakho”, which is “We thank you! What a nice tale it was!”. These primers are rather specific and they are intended for the audience to understand that the story is based on historical happens in far gone days. Furthermore, the community-building aspect of these primers do not just convey rules and assumptions, they also rehearse, explore, perform, and refine them (Kurtz, 2014). Thereon, helping to develop an interplay between communication and negotiation in story sharing (idem).

The Shona people also have similar primers in storytelling where the storyteller initiates with “paivapo” and the given responses would be “dzepfunde”, which to Western scholars would mean “I am ready to learn”. “Paivapo” is also used as an introduction to a new setting in the story and integrates new characters. This particular primer and respective response “dzepfunde” serves as an active acknowledgment of the audience of their understanding of the how the structure of “Ubuntu” social engagement functions and serves as an orientation for teaching while interacting with the storyteller (cf. Mucina 2011). 

Hence, we are able to agree with Goss & Goss (1995) that storytelling is an important faculty for engaging critical regeneration and honest self-criticism, while offering a collective vision for and with community. Also, in countenance with and according to Chinyowa (2001), African storytelling is a powerful tool for communicating people’s knowledge and wisdom. Storytelling helps to whet people’s creativity and imagination, to acclimate behaviour, to train intellect and to regulate emotions (idem). 

Ultimately, we are led to believe that “Ubuntu” storytelling can be very neatly placed within the P21's Framework for 21st Century learning skills. The 4Cs found herein form the basis of “Ubuntu” storytelling, where collaboration can be essentially tied in with communication, critical thinking and creativity. These should form the essence of classroom practice. By also considering that pupils may create and express themselves through languages and through other knowledge, we are able to concede that language learning forms the basis for professional success in the 21st century (Oliveira & Cruz, 2017). 

With “Ubuntu” storytelling, pupils are not only participating in the act of storytelling, they are also developing other “World languages” (P21, 2015). Furthermore, they are able to develop  the following: a) communication, i.e. the ability to understand, to interpret messages and to present information; b) intercultural and plurilingual skill, they have access to other languages and cultures, because they are able to learn of different cultural views amidst the practices and products of the people who speak the target-languages; c) connections can be made by accessing knowledge from other subjects within the target language; d) world comparisons can be made by giving pupils opportunities to identify similarities and differences between their own culture and other languages. Ultimately, they are able to reflect upon their views of the world, practices and cultures (cf. P21, 2015).

Taking these issuances into account, we believe that by addressing an experiential communicative approach enhanced by (hyper) sensory strategies (Cruz, 2015), teachers are able to immerse and engage pupils’ with competencies and dexterities, which may help to further develop their collaborative, communicative, creative and critical thinking skills both in and outside of the classroom. Focus on this approach is highlighted in the following chapter.



Experiential learning is a change inducing quest, by taking an experience or a series of pupils’ relevant and authentic experiences and connecting them to real life. According to AEL (2008), experiential learning and education is “a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage learners in direct experience and reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify values” (AEL, 2008, WEB). This holistic and multidimensional approach aims at improving pupil’s self-awareness, self-esteem and ultimate potential. 

Pupil’s needs, interests, communication and interaction serve as focal points. Undoubtedly, the experiential communicative approach assists in encouraging pupils when inquiring, exploring and developing their interests. This learning approach not only enhances their self-esteem, but also boosts motivation, cultivates respect for diversity and fosters pupil’s risk-taking dexterities. It is also strongly characterized for its ability to develop pupil’s creativity, flexibility and leadership skills further.

Fernández-Corbarcho (2014) apprises and gives prominence to this teaching approach in the following way: a) during classroom activities pupils need to be engaged in collaborative strategies thus making them responsible for their own learning;  b) meaningful, stimulating and authentic use of language is wellconsidered; c) classroom tasks need to be challenging therefore ensuing as an interest generator; d) activity variation should be contemplated after recognition of the pupil’s different learning styles; e) pupil’s assurance, re-assurance and sense of belongingness are valued while ultimately, achievement rewards are welcomed. ICT is also regarded as a classroom tool according to FernándezCorbarcho (idem) and proposes several activities such as web quests, blogs with multimedia material, wikis and social networks. 

The experiential communicative approach, together with multisensory learning, works as a mind shift on the senses in perception channels by activating the brain connections (cf. Shams & Seitz, 2008). Multisensory learning offers the pupils the opportunity to gain something through experience (Oliveira & Cruz, 2017). We are also in accordance to Arslan (2009, WEB) when the author refers that “every lesson should include a hands-on experience”. Hence we also believe that it is necessary to consider and to integrate experiences which provide pupils with fulfillment opportunities, with reflective tasks and helps to stimulate critical analysis, in order to help them assimilate and create proactive knowledge (Fernández-Corbacho, 2014).

Hereon, we admit that the gamification pedagogy sustains this purpose. According to Kapp (2012), gamification can be defined as using game-based mechanics, aesthetics, and game-thinking with the objective of engaging people, motivating action, promoting learning, and solving problems. Game elements and game mechanics are applied to non-game activities which help to make everyday tasks and activities more feasible. Elements, such as stories, points and challenges form part of the game design techniques which serve as motivators and behavioural changes. 

According to Foncubierta & Rodríguez (2015), the use of gamification can be assumed as the technology which the teacher uses in the learning activity’s design (either analog or digital) introducing game elements (logos, time limit, punctuations, dice, etc.) and thinking (challenges, competition, making connections, etc.), in order to enrich the learning experience and to directly and/or modify pupils’ behaviour in the classroom. This can be considered as Gamification’s realm, where creation, experience production and the influencing of pupil’s behaviour is, as explained by Hamari & Koivisto (2013), the offering of a domain of feelings within a given content and, at the same time, the receiving of recognition for their achievement.

Gamification also gives importance to “encendido emocional” (Mora, 2013) which is the emotional and motivational involvement of pupils in a particular task. It is the emotion that "calls" and stimulates pupils to actively participate in gamified tasks. We can tell when a pupil is engaged in a specific task, if they are cooperative and curious about what follows and dependent on immediate feedback (Oliveira & Cruz, 2017). Positive emotions foster holistic, creative ways of thinking (Caballé & Clarisó, 2016). They also help to promote socio-emotional skills and improve attitudes towards themselves and others. From this perspective emotional awareness, empathy, self-efficiency and self-motivation are crucial components of emotional intelligence (cf. Caballé & Clarisó, 2016). In gamification, importance must be given to emotion because it serves as a stimulant for pupils to actively participate in classroom tasks. By applying gamification in education, the opportunities for experiential, self-paced and lifelong learning expand exponentially (Oliveira & Cruz, 2017). Pupils and learners can therefore feel engaged in enjoyable activities and tasks and thereon are rewarded with knowledge and skills (Arnold, 2014). Any pedagogical tool which serves as a curiosity catalyst in a learner will increase potential skill and concept acquisition (cf. Utendorf, 2013).



The following project was accomplished within a Master of Arts teacher’s training practice. The practices illustrate classroom production and performance by focusing on: a) an adaptation of a traditional Zulu folktale called “Where Stories Come From”, which can help provide a context for meaningful learning; b) Web 2.0 applications for collaborative learning, namely through the use of a flipped classroom strategy, a digital platform questionnaire and a classroom quest; c) creative and (hyper)sensory tasks which help to develop critical reflection. 

The chosen methodological approach is qualitative, as it focuses on classroom observation of behaviours and reactions. The proposed research questions were:

  1. a) can Ubuntu storytelling foster the development of 21st century skills; b) can the intermingling of gamified tasks with oral traditional storytelling aid in pupils’ development?

The research took place, with a group of primary school pupils, consisting of 24 pupils from the Oporto, Portugal area. These pupils were attending the 4th grade with the English language integrated into their obligatory curriculum. They had 3 blocks of 45-minute lessons per week. This unit was planned out for 6 sessions.   

The main focus and topics were “family”, “animals”, “homes” and “parts of the town”. As we mentioned before, an adapted traditional Zulu folktale known as “Where Stories Come From” was used as the main resource. Gamified tasks based on a flipped classroom strategy and the digital platform, “Plickers” (, helped to form the basis for a comprehension questionnaire. Problem problem-solving activities were implemented with the introduction of “mind maps". Town planning tasks and activities were also introduced to help induce collaborative and creative skills. Finally, pupils were taken on a collaborative classroom quest. 

The study included a pre-questionnaire with the functional objective of understanding the project’s learner types and to assess their preferable learning styles. Referral is also made to the fact that the data collection tools included the following references: a) field notes; b) questionnaires; c) projects/ worksheets; d) audios/videos. 

In the first session, in order to give primary focus on and offer a cultural awareness experience, the teacher elicited what type of houses the pupils lived in and knew of. Pupils were then introduced to a flipped classroom strategy, where they were divided into groups of three. Each group was given a website link indicating typical villages and housing in South Africa. By using tablets, pupils were told to search for the website link and to find three images/pictures of their assigned village. The groups’ images were then collected, and a PowerPoint presentation was made by the pupils, whereby showing a selection of their chosen traditional homes and communal villages. This then served for discussion where pupils were able to make comparisons and find similarities between South African and Portuguese homes (Figure 1).

By taking a spiral curriculum into account, pupils refreshed their memories in relation to, for example, colours, shapes, sizes (Mathematics contents). They were able to investigate, compare and discover similarities and differences between African indigenous people and European Portuguese people. Focus was also made on the similarities and differences found in South African housing and Portuguese housing (Social Sciences contents). The main observed difference was that houses are round shaped in South Africa and that indigenous people live in communal villages. 

Figure 1 - Presentation

By applying a flipped classroom strategy, this holistic teaching approach presents itself as a pupil centred strategy, through which: a) pupils can learn and apply new knowledge; b) immediate feedback when questions are asked is given; c) opportunity is granted for deeper exploration of a subject/issue.

In the second session, as a pre-story activity, preparation for storytelling was established by pupils being shown different types of realia. These objects were a representation of some lexical items that the pupils would encounter in the story. Therefore, they served to pre-teach the main lexical items and to familiarise pupils with the characters of the story, the “animals”. The realia was shown to pupils and was accompanied by gestures. Mime and gestures stimulate the body senses and help to facilitate communication, understanding, participation, as well as to make the vocabulary more memorable (Figure 2).

Figure 2 - Using realia


The main objectives when using realia in the classroom might include: a) promote a form of kinaesthetic learning, a very hands-on experience; b) create unexpectedness when pupils interact with real objects; c) foster excitement; d) use authentic materials which can be rewarding and stimulating for both teacher and pupils; e) help to control panic, fear and anxiety when pupils encounter unknown language; f) encourage, motivate and give pupil’s empowerment; g) make the learning experience more memorable for the pupil.

Having acquired newly learnt vocabulary and actively participated in kinaesthetic activities, the teacher presented the adapted traditional Zulu folktale to pupils. The story was an interactive reading where the teacher, in order to sustain the story, used a variety of didactic strategies. 

“Where Stories Come From” is an adaptation of a traditional Zulu folktale that originally infers a clear life lesson throughout the entire story. This Ubuntu story tries to imply that nothing is achieved in life without hard work and effort. Mother Manzandaba, the main character of the story, finds her own stories to tell her children through the fruits of her effort (Figure 3).

Figure 3 - African Folktale


An interactive whiteboard was used for the stories’ presentation.  The “Caleméo” publishing documents and magazine platform was used as a presentation aid. In this way, pupils could listen to/read the story as a wholeclass activity.

To help ensure total physical response, pupil’s involvement, the development of their listening skills and for pupil’s assessment, they were asked to mime and gesture when they heard and identified the pre-taught vocabulary. This was used to help develop motivation, to have them actively participate and to check for understanding. The teacher asked convenient ‘cliff-hanger' questions and deliberate concept check type questions, which is used to aid in prediction skills and to help contribute towards pupil’s engagement (cf. Ellison, 2010).

To further access pupil’s understanding and comprehension, a digital platform was used. A “Plickers” questionnaire was applied, which is a simple tool to help teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need of technological devices for all. It checks for understanding of knowledge through multiple choice questions and gives all pupils the chance to participate and engage in learning (Picture 4).

Figure 4 - Plickers Comprehension Stories 


In the third session, there was a retelling of the story and reactivation of the vocabulary. Story retelling drills are a teacher’s reassurance that pupils have properly understood the story and it also gives them the opportunity to review, relive and rehearse the story and storyline. Pupils are able to focus on the setting, the main characters, on the stories’ plot and very importantly, prepare themselves for problem solving. 

Pupils were then introduced to a “story map”. This is a very effective strategy which helps them to organize their thoughts and to learn the elements of the story (Oliveira & Cruz, 2017).  Focus is given on the characters’ identification, the story setting, the problem and ultimately, the solution. Story maps can offer a series of advantages, such as; a) helping to improve comprehension; b) providing a framework for identifying the story elements; c) organizing information and ideas efficiently. Figure 5 holds an example of a story map used in the classroom that pupils had to collaboratively complete.

Problem solving and critical reflective activities were then focused on. We believe that these important 21st century skills can be stimulated by using authentic material which can urge pupils into inquiring and solving problemsituations. 

Figure 5 - Example of a story map 


In the fourth session, pupils were challenged to pretend they were town planners. They would have to draw a town map and give it a name. The proposed activity was completed collaboratively, in small groups. In this way, provision for social-learning environments allows pupils to see and accept other points of view (Figure 6).

Figure 6 - Example of a town plan


Collaborative learning develops social skills and cultivates for an all inclusive classroom. Other benefits are social and psychological gains. Favourably, collaborative learning offers encouragement, creates diversity awareness, embraces shared knowledge, builds self-esteem and develops an overall positive attitude, which may serve as elements to help pupils in actively involve themselves in the learning process. 

After completing their town map, pupils were encouraged to present their towns in a “Show and Tell” activity. By performing this type of activity pupils can a) learn to speak and listen in the target language; b) ask inquiry-based questions; c) make connections between pupils’ responses; d) anticipate and observe; e) practice critical reasoning skills; f) increase confidence.

The final session was set up for a classroom quest. In order for pupils to consolidate knowledge and revise previously learnt items, a gameful learning approach was applied. Here game mechanics and game design helped to engage and motivate the pupils. The use of game techniques are different to games, because they have no defined rules or objectives, but a collection of tasks and rewards, therefore, motivation is seen as being the main key principle (Figure 7).

Figure 7 - Classroom Quest 


The Classroom Revision Quest involved completing eight different types of tasks at eight different circuit bases in the room. The quest was divided into two distinct parts: “revision based tasks” and “creativity based tasks". As a group[1], pupils would have to pass from one circuit base in the room, after having completing a particular task, to another circuit base after a stop watched time period. Each circuit base box was a referenced and different part of the town, for example, the bank box, the restaurant box etc. Two envelopes, one white and the other brown, could be found in alternative boxes. In the white envelop, pupils could find the task’s instructions. They had to complete the previously selected textbook exercises and then they had to check their answers found in the brown envelop before advancing to the leaderboard. In the alternate boxes our pupils could find different the creative development tasks to complete. In other words, in the boxes 1, 3, 5, 7 pupils could find revision and consolidation tasks to complete. In the boxes 2, 4, 6, 8 pupils had to complete the creative development tasks. Each round of the circuit base lasted for four minutes, which was timed and controlled by the teacher. As the group progressed they earned points.  

By adding a leaderboard to show which pupils are ahead can serve as a motivator for pupils to see their names/groups on the boards. Most pupils will strive to be on par or overcome their classmates in order to feel a sense of achievement (Figure 8).

Figure 8 - Leaderboard


We can therefore consider that pupils can be engaged through gamification in five different ways, by: making them co-creators of the design; making it competitive; using a leaderboard, technological and analogic tools.

Our sessions were finalized with a self-assessment questionnaire (Picture 9), where pupils answered by: a) using the thumbs up/thumbs down strategy; b) giving examples of what they have learned; c) writing a short composition giving the solution to the story’s problem (Picture 9).

Figure 9 - Questionnaire 


With this self-assessment questionnaire, we were able to verify our pupils’ preferences in relation to the sessions. The majority of our pupils favoured the Classroom Quest. 41% had a greater predisposition towards these types of activities. The research and use of technological devices represented 20% of our pupil’s preferences. Storytelling was followed with a margin of 18%. Following on to this, “Creative Town Planning” had a 15% predisposition and finally activities which involved "Singing and Chanting” occupied 6% of our pupils’ preferences.

By considering our pupils’ initial questionnaire analysis, we were able to determine that our pupils had already encountered traditional games yet there seemed to be very little exposure to technological devices or technology as a means and resource in the classroom. There has also been an emergence in relation to analogic gamification which appears be as stimulating and motivating because it involves kinesthetically related problem solving and creativity tasks. We are able to assert that this type of multisensory learning can accommodate for different pupil’s learning needs, by furnishing them with multiple ways of learning and offering them a chance of succeeding. Therefore, they have also been given the prospect of gaining something through experience (cf. Cruz & Orange, 2016; Oliveira & Cruz, 2017).



It is within our understanding that educating in the 21st Century is the considering of an interconnected society where communication continues to play a predominant role and how it can accommodate diversity in order to foster social cohesion and sustainable development.

With the intermingling of Ubuntu storytelling and gamified classroom tasks the following findings have been observed: a) folklore and Ubuntu storytelling can be a functional and viable teaching approach b) interactive and gamified storytelling allows for a better comprehension of the story and its elements; c) reflection throughout the whole process (pre-reading/reading/post-reading) plays an important role in the learning process; d) pupils prefer activities which involve collaboration; e) body activity, senses, the use of computers/tablets/ mobile phones are well accepted; f) gamified activities may work as a springboard for the development of pupils’ critical thinking skills; g) Classroom Quests integrate game elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios; h) the introduction to Leaderboards, which show pupils where they rank, elicits the desire to participate; i) creativity can be stimulated by giving pupils options and samples; j) not all pupils are able to develop creativity and collaborative skills at the same rhythm as others; k) mother tongue plays an important role in the reflective activities. 



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[1] The pupils were divided into seven groups of three pupils each and they were given a coloured head band which served as a group identifier (the Reds, the Blues, the Greens, the Yellows, the Oranges, the Browns and the Purples).



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