Adinkra Poetry Workshops

Adinkra Poetry Workshops

Poetry and Expressive Art as Therapy workshops that can be delivered as Poetry Shorts, Poetry Overcoming or Poetry Combined.  Each session is designed to raise self- esteem and self–efficacy, explore emotions, raise self awareness, improve social skills and address unresolved emotions.

These sessions are based around the book by James Culver Jr “How Anansi Learned Self-Esteem” Anansi the Spider is a West African character whose stories are told through West Africa and the Caribbean; however in the Caribbean his stories are also told using a character called Brer Rabbit. These stories follow the traditional oral tradition and are similar to Aesop’s Fables. Anansi the Spider is one of the great folk heroes of the world. He is a rogue, a mischief maker, and a wise, lovable creature who triumphs over larger foes.

Adinkra Poetry Workshops Syllabus


“Return and get it”

Learning From the Past to Build the Future

During these sessions Adinkra symbols will appear in various forms.  Each symbol tells a story.  These symbols are still used by the Ashanti people of Western Africa, primarily to decorate cloth and in the design of furniture.  I use these symbols in these sessions as a tribute to the people who created them and to celebrate the great oral traditions.

Module 1



Praise and Wisdom

This session is designed to help each participants develop self praise, to discover and develop their own unique gifts, and help them to understand that they do not need to be like anyone else to be worthy of attention, we are already made that way.

Module 2


“Seed of the Wawa Tree”

Persistence and Perseverance

This session is designed to help each participants understand that despite our best efforts things do not always go as planned.  It helps participants to learn that overcoming set-backs and problems is important in developing self-esteem.  By understanding that we can find solutions to obstacles preventing us reaching our goals, helps us to build confidence in our ability to succeed.

Module 3

Dua Pa Fro

“When you climb a good tree”

Encouragement and Recognition

This session is designed to help each participants take time to recognise the good things that they do; and encourage themselves to do more, we make future achievements possible.  It helps students to understand that the need to replace self-criticism and negative talk with self-praise, love and affection for all the good that they have done.

Module 4


“That which does not burn”

Essence of an Individual

This symbol gets its name from the priests who were able to walk on fire without burning their feet. As such this is a symbol of imperishability and endurance.  This session is designed to inspire participants to endure and overcome difficulties, to honour their dreams as an important way of honouring themselves.

Module 5


“Vitality and Renewal”

Power of the Sun

This session is designed to help participants understand that we can always find the ability to survive.  The sun is always shining whether or not we can see it and if we love ourselves as brightly as the sun shines, when bad things happen we can make the best of a bad situation.  We are allowed to make mistakes, forgive ourselves and try again. This helps participants to improve self–efficacy and raise self awareness.

Module 6


“A wooden comb”

Inner and Outward Beauty

This session is designed to help participants recognise the beauty in themselves.  It teaches them to understand and know their own inner and outer beauty so that they can have the confidence to face all that life throws at them, because they have an understanding that everyone is unique, special and beautiful.  This session helps participants raise self- esteem.

Module 7


“Fern – symbol of endurance and resourcefulness”

Perseverance and Endurance

This session is designed to help participants break down their goals into smaller steps so that they can overcome doubts and fears.  This session also encourages participants to acknowledge and face their fears rather than try to go around them.  This enables them to discover new strength within themselves.  This session helps participants to improve self–efficacy.

Module 8


“War Horn – Loyalty, Devotion and Service”

Collective Work and Responsibility

This session is designed to help participants grow their self-esteem by being an active part of a group they are proud of; to understand their place as part of a history of others who have succeeded and that they as individuals contribute to our communities success in the future. This session helps participants, improve social skills, raise self- esteem and self–efficacy.  This session links to Butterfly Session – People Have Good Intentions

Module 9


“Red eyes can’t spark flames”

Acceptance of Realism, patience, discipline and self control

This session is designed to help participants understand that we are all works in progress. Today we can do things that we couldn’t do before.  By recognising what we have already learnt and being excited about learning more, we are able to develop greater skills. This session enables participants to explore emotions and address unresolved emotions.

Module 10:



This session is designed to help participants understand that the past does not limit our future and that to change our lives we have to change our actions.  This session helps participants to raise self awareness and raise self- esteem.  It teaches participants that we can achieve great things when we are brave enough to stretch our abilities and aspire to learn and grow.

Module 11


“Measuring Stick”


This session is designed to help participants understand that they are excellent and what they do is excellent because we are all born that way.  We have the ability to pursue our goals and the skills and ability necessary to achieve them.  Participants learn that when we give all we have to reach a goal, no matter the outcome, we achieve excellence.  Participants during this session learn how to raise self esteem.

Samples Session Plan – Adinkra Poetry Workshops(example of a 45 – 60 minute session)







Introduction 5-10 Minutes Introduction & Warm Up Art Therapy Warm Up



Icebreaker activity that highlights students needs, what they are feeling today and introduces them to the session Activity printables, worksheets,

Paper, colouring pencils.

Main Activity 10 Minutes









15 – 20 Minutes








15 -20 Minutes

Expressive Arts Therapy:


















Spoken Word Performance:


How Anansi Learned Self Esteem and Self Respect.


Tales of Anansi the Spider, performed by Naz Knight.


Exploring Emotion through words, language, poetry, fiction etc.


Students will be encouraged to write their own story and create a way to deliver it.


Storytelling: Tales performed by Students.



Student will by the end of 11 weeks be able to:-


Work in teams to fulfil an objective;


Perform in a self-designed skit;


Reflect on their own and other’s performances;


Form sentences and revise word meanings;


The use of language


Empathise with others by creative means;


Manage emotions and behaviour


Improved Social Skills


Addressed Unresolved emotions



  • Self Awareness
  • Self respect
  • Self efficacy
  • Self esteem
  • Self confidence

·    Respect for others.

Activity printables, worksheets,

Paper, colouring pencils.

Closing 5-10 Minutes Session Recap and close The Moral of The Story Is… discussion Evaluate and assess the learning gain.

See other Poetry Workshops.

Butterflies Poetry Workshop

Campfire Poetry – Poetry Workshop

Throwing Stars Poetry Workshop



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