Friday, 29 July 2016

Final Day of Teacher Training

Yesterday was the final day of the teacher training course - but it was the teachers' turn to do the teaching! They worked in groups to prepare micro lessons to deliver in front of the entire group. They were encouraged to put into practise the teaching strategies we had been exploring throughout the week. It was rewarding to see that many of the teachers had taken on board what they had learnt and delivered their lessons with enthusiasm. 

The team enjoying the sunshine

Teachers taking part in the final warm up session

A warm up game involving getting into groups

Excited to see the teachers' lessons

Taking part in the group work of one micro lesson

The teacher asks Miranda to put the potatoes in the correct place

Beth works out if it is how many stones or how much stones

Alex comes up to the board as a student

John-Paul took us outside for his lesson

Felicien, the Rwanda Aid Manager, gave a speech of thanks

The teachers were all presented with certificates and goodie-bags

Lots of teaching supplies for the teachers to take back to their schools!

Steph D filling the bags

Teachers discovering what they were given

Last night we had goodbye drinks with the Rwanda Aid team at Munezero House. It has been the most wonderful couple of weeks - and all the teams from LEH, Devonshire House and King's House have so enjoyed visiting all the Rwanda Aid projects and getting to know the Rwanda Aid team here in Kamembe. We will all be going home with very fond memories of our time in this beautiful country - and I know that many will be returning again in the future. Murakoze cyane, Rwanda Aid.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Third Day of Teacher Training

Stephan and Dave finished the week by tackling the topic of lesson planning. The challenge was to introduce the new Competence based curriculum lesson plan template. The other challenge was to make the lesson interactive. There was some interesting debate on the ideas within the new form and some problem solving activities. Now it is over to the Rwandan teachers to plan their own lessons for the micro teaching tomorrow.

Differentiation was the topic for today's teacher training with Noelia & Andrea.
The sessions reinforced the importance of including in a good lesson plan three learning objectives to ensure that children of all levels and abilities can access the learning taking place and achieve the learning goals. The teachers were really engaged with today's lessons & asked lots of questions. They were keen to discover what issues might affect a child's ability to learn and how to identify when a lesson may be too easy or difficult for a child, so that they are able to provide more appropriate tasks in their teaching. The interactive activities demonstrating differentiated tasks were thoroughly enjoyed by the teachers who showed creative thinking and excellent group collaboration. Most importantly, the Rwandan teachers told us they are now hoping to take what they have learnt back to their own schools and begin to differentiate in their own classrooms. They also left with a greater understanding of how important it is to provide differentiated teaching so that EVERY child in their class achieves and makes progress. 

In today's lesson Maddie and Steph D explored the concept of idea development using mind maps. They modelled a range of learner-centred activities that the teachers could apply to their subject areas, as well as how mind maps could be used for planning and assessment. Group work and discussion was encouraged as the teachers worked together to create mind maps, participating in activities that they could use in their own lessons.

Jenny and Emily opened up their creative writing and drama training season today with a game beginning with 'In Kamembe there is a road...'  Each teacher in the circle had to remember what the previous teachers had said, slowly building up a story and strengthening their memory skills at the same time. Emily read out one of Aesop's fables, the Lion and the Mouse, and the teachers then had to sequence the pictures to match the story. Hot-seating followed, with Jenny taking on the role of the Mouse and being interviewed by Emily to show how this could be an aid to understanding the fable's characters. We even had some volunteers to take on the role of the Lion! An explanation of how a story mountain could be used in planning was the next step and the teachers each had a go at practising this. The session ended with a lively game of Lion and Mouse in the glorious sunshine, laughter was certainly the order of the day!

Today's debate was on the motion "Dishonest and rich is better than honest and poor" and was chaired by Andrea. Prior to the debate it was 17 for and 17 against so it was all to play for. The speakers proposing the motion gave an impassioned argument, followed by the first female speaker in the debates who was opposing the motion and came up with the lovely argument that "If you are honest you have peace in your heart". After many points of information from the floor, we were relieved in the final vote that it was just 19 for and 23 against.

Heavy traffic on the walk home from the school

At Ngwino Nawe, the disabled children's village, a new team of painters took up the brushes to finish the murals. Alex, Beth, Ruby, Steph P and Miranda spent the day adding fine detail to the murals, and touching up walls where the paint had peeled away. Nyungwe forest was well and truly brought to Ngwino, monkeys and all. 

Steph P discovered that a machete is an extremely useful tool in the absence of sandpaper, and she became (alarmingly) attached to the machete!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Second Day of Teacher Training

It was another successful day of teacher training at St Matthew's today. Miranda and Steph D taught a session on starters and plenaries, showing the teachers some fun and high energy activities they can play with their classes at the beginning of the lesson to engage children or to gauge prior knowledge. They made resources using readily available materials such as bottle tops to create matching games, which the teachers enjoyed playing.  They also focused on reflective plenaries and the importance of deeper questioning - asking the children to be specific about the skills they have learnt; why they have learnt something; what they found difficult. They were delighted that all the groups were extremely responsive today, and loved learning all the new activities.

Jenny and Emily worked together on delivering a lesson explaining the virtues of group work. As so many of the teachers have large numbers of pupils in the classes, they wanted to give some practical examples of how they could employ this type of learning back in their own schools. They started out with a Diamond 9 activity on the topic of 'What do learners need in order to be successful'. The teachers had cards with labels such as motivation, listening, being cheerful and having respect for teachers, which they needed to put into order of importance. This activity helped to encourage the teachers to discuss and share ideas with the aim of forming a group consensus at the end. Once completed, the groups then observed each other's work, which they found very interesting, with some having polar opposite ideas.  This starter ended with a discussion on how this group activity could be used across different subjects and with different ages of children. For the main activity they set up a group challenge called 'Circle of Voices'. This is where a topic or question is posed to a group of about four learners. After thinking independently they talk to the group before the discussion is opened to the whole group. The teachers found this useful as it encouraged everyone to take part in a lesson, instead of shying away from participating or allowing others to do the lion's share. The plenary involved setting up a fishbowl activity with four of the more confident participants sitting at a central table with the rest of the class standing around them in a circle. The teachers seated then evaluated the different kinds of group activities they had experienced that day, reviewing what resonated with them and what they would then take back to their schools. 

Ruby and Steph P enjoyed teaching assessment to the teachers. They shared views on lifelong learning and the need to teach children that maybe they can't yet- but they will be able to. Τhe Rwandan teachers drew traditional houses and ruby showed us all what the houses of Queensland look like.

Maddie and Dave ran a session on questioning: the importance of using different types of questions in lessons and how teachers can ask questions in different ways. The teachers loved the yes/no game they played as a starter - and some definitely got the hang of it more quickly than others! They were encouraged to challenge learners with all levels of questions, especially ones which make them think for themselves and give their own opinions.

At the end of the day, another debate was held - this time the motion was "Education is more important than politics". Somehow both teams thought they were proposing the motion, so team two had to do some very quick preparation in the two minutes prior to the debate! Before the debate 28 were for the motion, with 7 against, but after the opposers gave some very convincing arguments, only 22 were for with 14 against!

The teachers not involved in teacher training headed to Ngwino Nawe to give the walls some attention. Painters Noelia, Andrea, Stephan & Alex under the art direction of Beth went to begin painting two murals of Nyungwe Forest on the walls of the disabled village for the children to enjoy. They had a very productive day getting started on the backgrounds of both murals and touching up the Sea World mural painted by the team in 2014. They also painted a life size version of Shrek! Whilst many of the children have gone home for  the holiday the resident children were keen to help with the painting and enjoyed dancing along to the music. Look at tomorrow's blog to see how much the murals have progressed with the next tag team of painters.