Since you last heard from us, Nhaka Foundation had many great days out in the field, conducting teacher training. Everyone from Head Masters, to Teachers in Charge, to Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers have gone through training workshops with Dr Lea Ann Christenson and the Nhaka team. These educators are already amazing at their job, and the purpose of Dr Lea Ann’s training was to re-emphasize the foundations of teaching ECD. She went over everything from how children learn, the importance of speaking two languages, Universal Design for Learning, Literacy, Pre-math, and tying it all together by having the teachers write a lesson plan with the information they learned during the training.
In order to do so Dr Lea Ann had the teachers get creative by basing a lesson on a children’s edition of the Scholastic magazine that she handed out to every person at the training. Scholastic magazines are simple to read, non-fiction magazines that aid in children’s oral language development, and literacy. Each magazine is focused around a certain topic such as ants, classroom rules, and different holidays, like Valentine’s Day. While some of the magazines were the same, the teachers’ creative energies steered them in different ways to orchestrate a lesson they would teach. While every idea was different, each and every teacher made sure his or her lesson touched upon literacy, building academic language through specific vocabulary words, pre-math, and of course play!
Dr Lea Ann and the teachers then also discussed how the lesson could be adapted through Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a framework to guide educators about the best ways to educate all children in the classroom, to make sure all children; even children with special needs understand the lesson taught in order to broaden each and every child’s horizon of knowledge. The fun of ECD training did not stop there! Dr Lea Ann also implemented teaching strategies that teachers could use in their classroom into the training. Tactics such as “turn and talk” where a question is asked, and then you turn to the person next to you to discuss possible answers. Switching the people you are working with in order to meet new friends to discuss possible answers with.
And finally, what I think was the most fun was Dr Lee Ann drawing every name randomly out of a bowl to have the teachers come up and share a rhyme they sing in their classroom. Everyone at the training had a good laugh, while participating in singing and dancing to the rhymes, and most importantly, all the teachers learned new rhymes to bring back to their own classrooms. Today’s children are tomorrow’s future. Teachers take up the outstanding duty to teach and train children in order to make sure their futures are bright and filled with knowledge. This teacher training reinforced skills that Zimbabwe’s teachers already know and use in order to motivate them to keep up the great work they are doing in educating our children.
Until next time,