International Journal of Art & Design Education

Speaking of Tongues

Volume 23.2   2004



In this paper I reflect on claims that artefacts, as alternatives to texts, can provide an effective means of access to learning. With reference to the work of Walter Benjamin, I analyse the role the “aura” of a ritual object played in engaging a group of Year 6 students, all of whom experienced various degrees of delayed literacy. Drawing on Levi-Strauss' essay, On the Effectiveness of Symbols, I consider how far a unit of work involving aspects of a ritual against slander allowed the students to develop their understanding of how performative language might function