Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wrapping Up Teacher Observations May 26 & 27

Molozi & Mtelwe 
After our holiday yesterday we were back in the truck at 7 as usual and headed to Molozi.  Mr. Lungu had a well-prepared lesson and utilized many engagement strategies including turn and talk, drawing, and singing. 
Mr Lungu checks in with students for accuracy 
The content could have been more rigorous but I was pleased overall with his implementation.  Mabuchi observed the new teacher, Mr. Mkondawire, teach the younger students.  He is still learning some of the strategies but we are confident with more practice he will excel.  The head teacher, who was present today but is often absent due to illness, watched the lessons but did not teach.
Mr. Mkwandawire, The Head Teacher, Mr. Lungu, and Mabuchi

When we approached Mtelwe, our driver Moffat decided to pick up a few students along the way, hoping the sight of familiar faces in the back of our truck would not scare off the people in the village like our last visit.  Of course more and more children wanted to ride in the truck.  For most of them this was there first ride ever in a vehicle!
The district education office is organizing a sports day for area schools next week.  This means one or two teachers from each school must walk the children to a centrally located school – often several hours walk away – where they will spend the night and participate in competing sports with neighboring schools. Today a couple teachers were gone to turn in the necessary paperwork.  Without email or even transportation this process is long and arduous. The two remaining teachers were not fully prepared but did their best at presenting a lesson. 
The teacher demonstrates on the board the algorithm for subtraction
The one lesson was on subtraction with regrouping.  Like so many villages I visit, the children do not have a good grasp of numbers – even simple addition or subtraction. 
The students watch the teacher
The older students are counting on their fingers or making tick marks to solve the problems.  And here like many villages, the teachers would like to learn more mathematics methodologies.

Students want to shake my hand

As we were leaving a few children timidly reached out to shake my hand.  Of course I welcomed this gesture and soon a large crowd formed. 
It took a while to shake all the hands so while waiting Mabuchi took the opportunity to have a discussion with the girls about staying in school and avoiding early marriage.

Mabuchi with the older girls
Donje and Chimozi

Our friends the Johnsons have been hearing all about our work in schools and joined us along with their language tutor Mrs. Mwanza. 
Mr. Nyirenda has the children collect colors used in the flag
We returned to the village of Chimozi and were grateful to see the teachers and students present.  The two volunteer teachers show promise in their engagement strategies.  With more practice and coaching they will be well on their way to quality instruction.
The teacher randomly calls on students to explain the significance of each color

Mabuchi and I are so pleased to see the head teacher, who is a government teacher, not only grasping the theory of the methodologies but also teaching effectively.  In the mathematics lesson I observed the children using stones for manipulatives. 
It was obvious the head teacher had been practicing various engagement strategies and the students had used manipulatives before. When he started his lesson the children knew to turn and talk about the problem and use the stones to find the answer.
The head explains how he engages the students
The head teacher sets a positive tone in the school where the  teachers enjoy working with the students and the children enjoy learning. H
e also works closely with the volunteers and assists them in their lesson planning.

With some help from Charles Johnson, Mrs, Nyirenda's class learns about types of soil

Our next stop was Donje.  
Our two teachers explain what the students will be learning
Again, a couple teachers were not present because they were turning in paperwork for the sports day.  We were however able to observe a couple teacher who were present.  Chifumu, a teacher who has attended two trainings from me in the past, taught a lesson on the flag of Zambia.  
Chifumu begins by showing a picture of the flag
He had the attention of the students the moment he began.  He asked a question to see if students were ready to learn and immediately they all put their thumbs up. When he asked a question about the colors of the flag the students knew to turn and talk without any teacher direction.
Students know to help each other
 When the questions increased in difficulty the students knew to not only ask their seat partners but the students in front or behind.  It was obvious he practices this type of teaching everyday.  During our reflective conversation after the lesson, Chifumu had difficulty describing what he did and why.  He knows it works and the students learn and that's all he needs to know.
I help him understand by explaining why his strategies are effective
Mabuchi observed the other teacher who also had many strategies in place.
The PTA chairman stopped by and shared some pumpkins with us. Charles was especially fond of this one.

Mabuchi greets the women
These women were waiting for a ride to town to catch a bus to another village and place a tombstone on the grave of their pastor and friend who passed away a year ago.  We happily provided a ride for them.

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