Thursday, February 4, 2016

A visit to Missisi and John Laing

So many children like this one want to learn!

Missisi and John Laing are named after British landowners who used to have farms in this part of Lusaka, which is now part of the city.  Missisi is how the locals referred to the “Mrs.” who lived on that plot of land.  While driving through both compounds I was struck by how many children are not in school.  We passed scores of children out playing during school hours.  This only reinforces the great need for community schools to reach these children.

Students practice sharing ideas at Missisi
The children in both schools we visited today struggle with English.  I gave two of the same lessons as yesterday and Mabuchi had to jump in many times to help translate.  Also, the students struggled to answer in English and again Mabuchi had to help with the translation.  At Mississi when I asked students to “turn and talk” many of them stared at me because they are not used to talking to each other.  Eventually they shared ideas with each other.  Their teachers are going to practice using “turn and talk” as a strategy.  I also encouraged them to use more English when they are teaching.  The grade seven test is all in English except for one part testing local language proficiency.  If they do not practice hearing and speaking English they have no chance at passing the test.
Some of the beautiful children at Missisi - with Mabuchi
Students go outside to draw a plant 
At John Laing I found yet another brand new teacher teaching grades one, two and three.  She seems eager to learn the strategies.  The grade four, five, and six teacher uses “turn and talk” sometimes so once the students warmed up to the idea of a white woman teaching them they were eager to share ideas with one another.  After the demonstration lessons, both teachers said they wanted to practice “turn and talk” and group work with the students more.  They saw the benefit of having students interact and discuss answers.
Students demonstrate the parts of a plant
Yet another perfect line with little to no directions!

Conferencing with teachers after the lesson.
On a side note:  The electricity and water have been working fine – which is a real bonus!  I will take it as long as I can get it!

Teachers at John Laing

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