Benin – KQ6 – Should the Benin Bronzes be returned? SMART TASK

This lesson is guaranteed to provoke a lively debate. Armed with all the contextual knowledge they need, and stimulated by some thought-provoking quotations, pupils work in teams to advocate a particular course of action. By way of preparation, they have to speculate as to likely arguments first before being given some ‘influence cards’ to deepen their thinking.


This Benin bronze (slide2) is housed in a museum in Exeter. The British museum has hundreds more. But should they be there, or should they be returned to Benin? Clearly emotions run high on these matters. Slide 3 and 4 offer a couple of typical perspectives. But what do the pupils think? It is likely that they will feel sympathy for the Benin people and advocate the bronzes return to Africa. But what arguments would they use. Put them into groups of 3 and ask them to think of any reasons for and against returning them.

Step 1

Now gather pupils’ early ideas and possibly record them on the IWB. Then introduce the idea of the debate using slide 5 to emphasise the need to not only advance their arguments but find ways of countering their opponents’.

Step 2

Now divide the

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