Saturday, 26 February 2011

Week 2 Highlights of the Tsangaya Project

Mostly Nigerian teachers talk for the whole lesson. The entire lesson. Or, they get the children to chant words from the black board. So we focused the second week of training on the structure of the lesson/ lesson plan and looking at what activities they will get the children to do for at least half of the lesson. Here are some highlights of the past 3 weeks.

100 squares made as neat as possible for maths. You would be surprised with how many mistakes they made that had to be covered up.
We were running around playing alphabet games and they loved it! But ‘honestly,’ (a common phrase used here) there was a lot of people collecting the wrong capital letter to match the small letter. It doesn’t surprise me anymore, but it is still shocking.

Follow up visits
After the 2nd week of training we followed them to their villages to see how they were getting on. I managed to visit 8 more teachers out of 30 and they were mostly doing ok.

This is an example of the charts they have been making to help the children learn. I was happy to see these displayed in the ‘classroom.’ The 'classroom' is actually in someone’s back yard, surrounded by locally made mud walls, half in the sun, half in shade. (Notice '1, 2 buckle my shoe' and 'This old man.')

This girl was showing me the Hausa vowels that she had learnt. Notice her first attempt is written from the right hand side of the slate to the left. This is the direction they write when learning the Qur’an in Arabic. This is the only education she has had so far. You can see the second attempt when she wrote it again the correct way for Hausa.
It was surprising that the teacher managed to recruit all the children in the village for their lesson 2 hours early as we arrived ahead of schedule.
Here I am dressed in native clothes, including a scarf over my shoulders (although not over my head), despite the temperature being around 32 degrees. I like this photo because you can see the teacher stood next to me enjoying the lesson and the smiles on the children’s faces as they play a ‘learning game.’
A different class singing a Hausa action song.
Here we are breaking into an empty school to eat a late lunch made by a support teachers second wife! This is me with the driver. It’s their custom to give the guest the most/best food so my plate was piled high, including a whole half of a fat guinea fowl. It was actually one of the best meals I have had in Nigeria.
I’m a little sunburnt from being under sun for a couple of hours and a little worried about how I am going to eat all this food!

More camels! These villages are far north in Jigawa State, close to Niger and the Sahara Desert. They say that some of the children have even travelled from Niger to live with these Mallams and learn the Qur'an. You can actually buy cheese made from camels milk in these areas! They also say that the camels travel to and from Niger to Nigeria, buying and selling goods.
It makes me so happy to see these children smiling and so keen to learn. I have rarely seen children playing or having fun. I have mostly seen them roaming the streets with their plastic bowls, begging, hawking or carrying huge buckets of water on their heads.

On Monday we start the 3rd and final week training to end the launch of the training. I am really looking forward to teaching the teachers 'Old MacDonald had a farm' to teach the children English animal names.

1 comment:

  1. i laughed till my stomach was aching me when i read your story, especially the statements below

    "It doesn’t surprise me anymore, but it is still shocking"

    "It’s their custom to give the guest the most/best food so my plate was piled high, including a whole half of a fat guinea fowl"

    "a little worried about how I am going to eat all this food!"

    Weren't you given a background analysis of what to expect and what not to expect before you were sent out?

    Anyways, i hope you enjoyed your time in that state. i am in Lagos and its a different ball game.