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Teachers Without Borders

Karyn's erratic learning journey: Once upon a time in Africa... - 0 views

  • The classrooms were cold and draughty. There were 45-60 children per class. Many were sitting two-to-a-desk. The teaching followed strictly behaviourist principles, with lots of call-and-response. With no text books and precious few learning materials, it was hard to think of alternative approaches.
    • Teachers Without Borders
       
      This reminds me of so many classrooms in Kenya where one teacher was teaching a class of 60, 80, even 118 students! During our workshops, some of the teachers were initially reluctant to try to move away from behavourist methodologies but eventually almost all of them decided to give it a try - a huge step in a classroom that's, on average, at least a double of what we're used to in North America.
  • The government had identified that few of the children in the poorer schools could afford lunch and had introduced a feeding scheme. Schools were provided with soup and a budget for bread and peanut butter.
    • Teachers Without Borders
       
      This reminds me of students lining up to get food from the School Feeding programme at one of the elementary schools we visited in the Gugulethu township outside Cape Town. We found out that some of the students have to leave their classrooms ten minutes earlier before lunch to get their lunch from the School Feeding programme. Every day, in front of their peers, they have to get up and leave the classroom to get their lunch. Imagine how that must feel.
  • you will have noticed that I regularly try to speak up for the third world teachers. They have no voice in this space, and I am a poor excuse of an ambassador for their cause.
    • Teachers Without Borders
       
      True. We don't hear these teacher voices from outside the developed world bubble. I hope that some of the TWB-Canada projects that Sharon Peters (http://www.wearejustlearning.ca) and I are working on will empower the teachers in Africa to share their stories through blogs. This involves a lot of capacity building, but it is an important task that can make all of us better educators.
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  • What I will say, however, is that, while we are debating whether or not to continue using printed text books in our comfortable first world, there are teachers in schools where there is no alternative to text books – and I think they may well be in the majority. Many of them have never seen a computer and there is no electricity to run one, even if they had. The text books they do have are in short supply, outdated and in poor repair. We took some of our surplus text books to that school and the teachers wept, while the children sang, danced and clapped their thanks to us. “Die tannies het boeke gebring, julle!” (the aunties have brought books, you lot!). That moment changed me.
    • Teachers Without Borders
       
      How often we forget that the world does not revolve around the developed world! Even worse, how often do we give our students opportunities to read stories like this one, to see how people live in Third World countries? We must do more as educators to ensure that our students understand what is happening around the world and are empowered to make a difference - and I don't just mean a "feel good" project around Christmas time!
    • Teachers Without Borders
       
      How often we forget that the world does not revolve around the developed world! How often do we give our students opportunities to read stories like this one, to see how people live in Third World countries? We must do more as educators to ensure that our students understand what is happening around the world and are empowered to make a difference - and I don't just mean a "feel good" project around Christmas time!
  • When school segregation was abolished in South Africa, there was an inevitable influx into the previously white-only schools with their many resources. There was no answering flow in the opposite direction. This meant that the rural schools built for the disenfranchised sectors of society were servicing an ever poorer, ever more disadvantaged communities.
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