Friday, October 16, 2015

School Visits in Lusaka

The CCAP community schools, like most community schools throughout Africa serve the neediest children, many are orphaned and living with relatives. Parents and guardians are asked to pay a small fee to help with teacher salaries and materials.  Most of the 8 schools in Lusaka receive little to no payment from parents yet continue to allow students to attend the school.  This means the schools are serving the needs of children but teachers are working without compensation, making it difficult to retain trained teachers. 
One of the new teachers who teachers because he cares about the children

Of the 30 teachers only 13 have remained since the training in April.  The other 17 are either new or have never attended training in the past. This is the case at Mandevu where all but one teacher I’ve trained in the past has left and the children have followed them to their new schools.  School enrollment is quite small compared to what it was previously. The school must work to build their program back again.
Teacher Fanley has remained at Matero

The teachers at Matero however have been there many years.  The school is growing in numbers and highly regarded in the community. The school serves children in pre-school through grade 4.  They would like to add teachers and grade levels but finding enough teachers is a challenge.  The pre-school and kindergarten program serves 70 children with two teachers! 
Teacher Rebecca with her 70 pre-school and kindergartners

As I visit classrooms I am encouraged by engagement strategies I see implemented.  Some of the teachers who have attended the trainings have passed these strategies on to the new teachers.  In the classrooms where teachers have received training I see students discussing and comparing answers, sometimes using math manipulatives, acting concepts out, teachers pausing before calling on students, checking for understanding and teachers teaching two grade levels at once.  
Students discuss with their partner and must agree before they raise their hands - Think Pair Share

In one school the seventh grade passing rate has been 100% for two years now.  The teacher believes her instruction methods have greatly improved from the training and coaching – thus learning has increased. 
Students work together to solve 2 X 7 using their 2 sets of fingers
Working together using stones as counter
A little more work is needed here on student engagement 
The increase in new untrained teachers however means that many of the teaching methods and strategies demonstrated in the CCAP schools are very traditional and not best practice.  This means starting at the beginning with most of the teachers. 

This week I have realized that even though the focus of this project is training teachers to build capacity and increase student learning, the need to retain teachers is also important.  Training might increase teacher effectiveness but if the trained teachers are no longer at the school then our students cannot benefit from the training.  This project should also include ideas for self-sustaining income generation to retain teachers. More posts on that later. 
A younger brother brings lunch to school for his older sister

Wifi has been quite a challenge this week making blogging difficult.  Hopefully I can find some solutions.  In the meantime I am not too concerned since technology challenges are all part of being in Africa.

One of the perks of this work -- cute children!
The cuteness overwhelms me sometimes!

The students at Linda wave good-bye

1 comment:

  1. Machelle,

    Should we be surprised by the great turnover in teachers? Only 13 from our original 30 in less than six months still remain? You have your work cut out for you. Potential is written all over your work. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you see a need we can fill.