Friday, February 26, 2016

Return to Chawama: Upper Grade Teachers

Frances Phiri - really loves his students
Mabuchi and I returned to Chawama today.  We were pleased with the level of student engagement we observed.  We began with Francis Phiri in grade five.  His 40 students squeezed into a stuffy and dark room yet eager to learn.  Mr. Phiri was using a number line to teach addition.  He utilized many strategies that engaged the students in discussion.  Many students came to the board and demonstrated successfully how to add various addition problems using the number line.
Student demonstrates how to add using a number line
During his post-observation conference he mentioned he wanted to talk less and have his students to share more to increase student learning – a wonderful observation! He also wanted some strategies to increase thinking in his classroom – which I happily shared.
So crowded student must climb over the desks to get to the front!
Next we observed Febby Banda, the grade six teacher and acting head teacher.  Febby has attended several trainings in the past including a one-week modeling and coaching session from me.  She catches on quickly to concepts presented and desires to acquire the skills to be a distinguished educator.  Mabuchi and I were not disappointed.   
Students turn and talk as usual in her class
One of the objectives of her lesson was to know which foods have water, since water is an important and necessary part of our body.  She brought several foods such as an orange, watermelon, cucumber and lemon.  She asked students to demonstrate by squeezing the food to see if liquid would come out.  Finally she held up a sugar cane.  Numerous hands went up since sugarcane is a special treat.  It was difficult to squeeze the cane but the selected student chewed the cane and enjoyed the sweet juice.  Of course she used engagement strategies throughout the lesson. During the post-observation conference Febby described the student participation as “The students were flowing in the lesson.” I had to agree.  She made many suggestions to improve her lesson and listened earnestly to one or two I made.

Stephan teaches about the cell
The new grade eight teacher, Stephen, taught a science lesson about the cell. He too had many engagement strategies he had picked up just by observing my lesson.  He used many illustrations to explain the topic.  His enthusiasm coupled with his gentleness serve him well in the classroom.

Our final observation was in Mr. Banda’s class.  (Yes another Banda – the name is very common among those from Eastern Province).  The teacher enthusiastically presented his lesson about matrixes.  Many of the students were answering and following along. 
Mr. Banda and his math lesson
During the post-observation conference we suggested he might want to pause a bit when asking a question to give everyone an opportunity to think about the answer.  He is eager to learn and excel.
Two little ones crawl under a desk during break time to look at books.  LOVE IT!

Mabuchi and I will now prepare for the training on Thursday and Friday.  She will spend tomorrow purchasing food and supplies while I finalize my presentations and handouts.

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