Friday, June 3, 2016

Wrapping Up Demonstration Lessons – May 16 & 17

Enjoying the peaceful scenery of the countryside
After a restful weekend we were on the road again winding down narrow dirt pathways lined with trees, long grass, ripe cotton, and dried maize stalks - ending in the village of Donje.  
Students draw a sunflower
Mabuchi modeled two lessons - one with the grade three and fours and one with the five, six and sevens.  Two of the five teachers attended trainings in the past.  One in particular was familiar with many of the strategies demonstrated by Mabuchi.
Students compare answers before sharing with the class

Students agree on an answer before raising their hands
All teachers appeared to see the power of the engagement strategies Mabuchi modeled.  Again, the lessons were mostly taught in Tumbuka since the children understand and speak very little English. 
Mabuchi uses a piece of wood for a chalk board
The teachers of Donje


 Mr. Mkondawire, Mr. Lungu and Mabuchi show students a flowering plant
Today our school visits included two schools – Molozi and Mtelwe.  This was my fifth visit to Molozi. I was pleased to see Mr. Lungu has returned to the classroom.   When we visited in October he was discouraged and had stopped teaching. He is pleased to be back with the children.
Mabuchi taught all fifty students who showed up for school in the morning  in grades three through six.  The lesson about parts of a plant was well received. Again, English is not spoken much at all so most of the lesson was in Tumbuka.  When teaching Mabuchi tried to use as much English as possible using many English Language Learner techniques.  The two volunteer teachers commented that they found the demonstration helpful and look forward to our return.
Police, government officials and volunteers help with registration in Zambia
The next couple weeks is voter registration time in Zambia.  Like the US, schools are often official polling places where people come to register as well as vote. Registration under a tree outside the school is common in most villages.

Our next stop was Mtelwe.  As we pulled up I noticed many in the villagers running away.  One child was screaming with fear when he saw me.  Apparently the white face and hair is not unlike a boogie man or ghost in their culture. Also, the last whites to visit the village spoke to the people about circumcision…

Children indicate they are ready to answer the question
All three volunteer teachers were present including Mr. Banda, the head teacher, who has attended one training back in 2013.  Although we have several lessons in our repertoire our lesson about parts of the plant (a Zambian requirement all children should know) is used most frequently because all children in rural Zambia have background knowledge about flowering plants.  The basic lesson includes drawing, labeling, and being able to tell the English names of the plant (flower, stem, leaf, and roots). Often we include some drama and movement to help as well.
Students demonstrate flower, leaves, stem and roots
If the students appear to have mastered this we move on to understanding the purpose of each part.  We leave the entire lesson with the teachers that also includes all the parts of just the flower and their purposes. 
There were only twelve students present in grade three and four today making it easier to make the lesson understandable.  Mabuchi utilized many strategies to help the students learn the English words for the four parts of the plant.
Two of the teachers observe the lesson
After some reflection with the teachers we were back in the truck.  We dropped two of the teachers off several kilometers from the school- a path they normally walk each day and then continue many more kilometers on foot - before continuing our trip home.  I'm continually amazed at the dedication of so many of our volunteer teachers who have a long journey on foot just to get to school.
The head teacher and other volunteer say goodbye as they continue on their way home

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