Blog #4: Teaching and Learning Together
By Brent Galloway
As the Central Alberta Teaching Tour settles back into daily life in Canada, it is an opportune time to reflect on the work that we were able to carry out in Kenya during our two week time with A Better World. Our education work was centered around three areas: 1) professional development for Kenyan teachers, 2) instructional coaching/mentoring with Kenyan teachers, and 3) teaching lessons to Kenyan students. Although our team was faced with the challenges of a national teacher’s strike, we quickly adapted thanks to the grace and willingness of our Kenyan teachers who, once again, amazed us all with their capacity and desire to learn.
The majority of our work was carried out in the first week of our trip in two locations: Male School, and Jane Goodall Academy at the Segara Mission. As tour leader, this was my 3rd time returning to Male School, and I was extremely impressed with the obvious improvements that I witnessed in both physical developments on the school site (e.g. new buildings, gardens, solar panels, accessible water), and in instructional practice of the teachers. Teachers were more confident in their abilities as demonstrated through increased use in “active learning”, the integration of “multiple intelligence” theory to meet learners’ needs, and the use of cooperative learning.
Segara Mission, a new project for A Better World, shows definite promise. The infrastructure is excellent and includes a well developed library, and a growing student population. Teachers here were also open to learning in areas such as planning, assessment, learning styles, literacy and numeracy, and instructional design.
The most exciting part of our work involved bringing the teachers of the two schools together for a full day of professional development at the Sportsman Hotel. In addition to the teachers and administrators of our two schools, we also had teachers/administrators from another eight schools, as well as education officials. Our group of 50 worked collaboratively to learn about 21st century learning and most importantly, formed connections with one another and with our Albertan teacher leaders to help sustain our continued learning. Teacher participants received certificates for their involvement in the day, as well as a hearty lunch and a small token of appreciation to help cover transportation costs and to purchase supplies for classrooms.
Our education work, once again, affirms the importance of a long-term relationship with specific school sites. Teachers from our schools were enthusiastic, appreciative, and willing to contribute their own instructional skills and leadership for the benefits of enhancing their educational community. We look forward to working and learning with them in the future.