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JANUARY 2018 TEACHER TRAINING WORKSHOP REPORT FROM ANNU
We began with reintroduction of ourselves for the second time after May’s trial workshop. We did this differently this time. We had a long rope as a tool. The first person holding on to the rope introduced herself before passing the rest of the rope to someone she hadn’t met before. After everyone had their turns to introduce themselves, we began from the last person holding on to the rope. He/she had to see who the person immediately connected to his/her rope was. He/she had to remember the neighbour’s name, school, personal likes, and inspiration for teaching. I modeled this before conducting the activity.
Our workshop on the whole addressed why, how and what of teaching. This idea is an inspiration from Simon Sinek. It challenged the teacher to think deeply why their role was highly important in the lives of their children and eventually their villages. We discussed their ‘why’ of teaching and some shared that it was a source of income for them while others had a seed of faith that education could enrich lives. They also shared that they felt IYH was serious in what it was doing as a team. I shared the recent graduates of the last high school board exam where aproximately half the students nationwide failed. I got them to divide themselves into 50% of the present group then. I asked what laid ahead for those who completed school and what about those who dropped out because they ‘failed their education’. They responded by saying new doors would open for those who succeeded in getting through the iron gate while there was only one option for those who did not and that was to apply to go the Gulf to earn. The next question was to how its implication affected the village and country.
The ‘how’ discussed methods which helped teachers improve their skills in handling children. I introduced the engage-study-activate idea to help them get started into effective teaching. We learnt about how children are were naturally curious and the roles of teachers in creating the environment for students to grow.
We went about learning how children are natural learners. They start listening while in their mother's womb. As they grow up, they pick up various manners, mischief and ideas just by observing or using basic senses. So I asked if they are such natural learners with such curiosity, shouldn't they want to come to school? Teachers began saying there is no home support and I said of course not especially in the village. Parents are barely educated themselves how will they know. But we still have advantages as teachers to create a conducive environment for learning. It begins with our energy, desire and consistence towards our commitment as teachers. I linked this last training to their agriculture. I asked if i could throw an orange seed and expect apples and they said impossible! I tried to show them that they as teachers need to sow the seed, initate the act that they hope to see in their kids too. Then we went on to organic and chemical teaching. We had a short activity where they pasted a picture of a young child at either the root, trunk or leaves/fruit level. They had to do this keeping their students' general competency in mind.Basically chemical farming forces plants to grow unnaturally and it damages the environment and the consumer. So if our teaching is all about forcing a child to learn (by rote, by punishment) without understanding him or her, we will produce adults who will be harmful to others, in their thinking and the nation. On the other hand, organic teaching may take time, use good ' fertiliser' such as cleanliness, manners, respect, punctuality, zeal, compassion to produce the best. I asked why organic fertilizer was better altho slow and they replied that the soil can be reused and it remains healthy for other crops. I told them likewise when they use organic teaching their students have the opportunity to grow up to be productive individuals who will benefit others as well.
In all, the workshop felt productive and the teachers summarized and hhighlighted that organic and chemical teaching felt relatable. I think this March when we have our training I should do a recap. I understand they are new to such an approach but I felt welcome. They were familiar with the curriculum which was somewhat a relief. I'd like to proceed onto going through the curriculum, express phonetics with the teachers and an integrated example of teaching using the simple engage-study-activate model. I definitely need more hands-on activities as it works well with our teachers. Let me know what you think.