Tuesday, July 19, 2016

All about teacher training!

Hello Friends, 

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, 

Katie Shields 

Nhaka Volunteer 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Equipping Teachers

Dear Friends,

The Team at Nhaka Foundation has been busy with preparations for our training workshops with Heads, Teachers in Charge (TICs) and ECD teachers and will be held on the 1st,5th 6th and 7th of  July respectively. The training workshops shall be facilitated by Dr Lee Ann Christenson, an Associate Professor in the Early Childhood Development Department, at Townson University, in the United States of America and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary’s Goromonzi District Trainer Mrs Mushawatu. We anticipate that teachers, Heads and TICs from the fourteen schools we work with will be in attendance. 

Our aim for the ECD teacher training workshops is to increase the capacity of teachers to enable them to meet the developmental needs of their students, to facilitate dialogue between teachers concerning teaching techniques as well as to aid teachers to develop their ability to innovate with media. In addition, our aim with the Heads and TICs workshops are to conscientise these individuals on the importance of Early Childhood Development (ECD) and to develop their ability spread awareness about the benefits of ECD to parents and caregivers. 

When ECD was implemented in 2005 under the recommendations of the Presidential Commission Inquiry on Education and Training or better known as the Nziramasanga Commission, there was very little understanding about its importance. Although many have begun to understand the importance of ECD there still remain many misconceptions about ECD and misunderstanding among some community stakeholders and parents. It is essential that key stakeholders, parents and caregivers understand that ECD is more than just about children playing. 

Children at very young ages learn through play. Play develops their physical and cognitive abilities. Many naysayers of ECD argue that it is merely an extra cost for schools and serves no purpose as children just play all day. However, ECD is the foundation of all future learning and for future academic success of any child. Our teacher training is part of efforts to campion the importance of ECD and to ensure that teachers and educators can spread the word about the pivotal role of ECD.   

This is why at Nhaka Foundation we are partnering with ECD experts in order to provide the neccesary tools to equip the teachers working with young children in communities.

Until next time,

Shona Musimbe

Media/Programs Intern