Last weekend I had the pleasure of joining my fellow fellow at a training about an hour outside Kigali. He asked me to present on "teaching without materials" and didn't let me know much else about the audience except that they were mostly primary school teachers from rural areas.
I prepared a lesson on using newspapers as an authentic material, but then on the drive out to the training, changed my mind and presented activities that can be done using only paper. What made this training cool was that we had 2 Fellows, 2 Peace Corps Volunteers from the area, and a Fulbright Professor in attendance. This collaboration was awesome. I loved seeing the PCV's presentation and hearing the Fulbright's perspective on our presentations, since she is so seasoned and wise. Having 3 English Language outreach programs working together in one room was dynamic!
There were 30 teachers in attendance and we spent 5 hours getting to the nitty gritty of competency-based lessons, teaching with no materials, and using active lessons in the classroom. Teaching teachers is harder than I thought. Not only are there cultural barriers and language barriers, but also motivation barriers.
I have found in my life abroad, that many times teachers have not actually chosen their profession, but that they were sent down the education path because of lower test scores. Test low on the national high school exam, but high enough to get into college and you automatically major in Education (or English). (Same in China). This means that while there is heart, and purpose, and most of the time - desire, there might not be the pedagogy or understanding of what a teacher's role actually is. If you are a teacher because that's just the lot in life given to you, where does the drive to find your role come from? A teacher's role is not to write notes on the board for students to copy. A teacher's role is to build skills in their students, to open their eyes to new ways of doing life, and to teach students how to think. Introducing these concepts into classrooms abroad can be entertaining at best and daunting at worst.
But it's all in a days work.
Luckily, the teachers at this training were energetic and interested. They participated with earnest and I truly think the day was successful.
Enter the classroom with me....
|our fearless leader|
|who's that girl?|
|demonstrating activities with only paper!|
|inside a nursery classroom|
|lunch is provided for all attendees|
|using a mattress corner as an eraser! amazing!|
walk slow. xoxo.