We can’t believe that we’ve reached just over the half way mark of our visit as we are all very much fully emerged in the Malawian bubble…and giving little thought to the outside world.
Notwithstanding the temperamental and frustrating Wi-Fi …it never takes long to get into the Malawian swing of things and our week is flying by so quickly.
Today we were going further afield and headed out to Blantyre Rural – after dropping Laura off first at Limbe Teacher Development Centre to facilitate the new ‘bespoke’ MLOL teacher training course.
Laura has developed the resources based on her experiences teaching in Malawian schools as part of her former MLOL visits and Glasgow’s ‘Good Lesson’ learning and teaching strategy.
During the day, Laura concentrated on effective teaching, using the library to support learning and teaching and how to use Reading Leaders to promote reading.
After parting ways and wishing Laura luck with her 20+ cohort of Malawian teachers, it was off out to the heart of Blantyre Rural and along the bumpy, dusty tracks to the Lunzu District and Ntenjera Teacher Development Centre.
It was here that Maureen and Sharon would deliver day two of the senior management training with the next batch of rural headteachers and Primary Education Advisers.
And after tweaking their delivery model and some resources last night following feedback and evaluation from day one!
Francis and I meanwhile did a bunk from the classroom and set off in the direction of the laughter and screams at the primary school next door – Ntenjera Primary School.
With almost 2,000 learners – the school is spread out across a nice, flat …but very dusty plot – but with only 14 classrooms – seven classes are outdoor and the learners were being taught under varying degrees of cover.
Standard 7 classes are in the nearby church.
Typical Malawian culture is to use every available space to teach the children – this is fine when it’s dry but the irony is that Malawians pray every year for good rains for the crops that will in turn have a dramatic impact on the outdoor classrooms.
As Rose the HT shrugged when I enquired how they managed – ‘we just all cram into the classrooms and manage’.
Bumper crops of maize and full bellies are of course top priority.
Francis and I caused a bit of a flurry of excitement as we toured the school and at one point we were mobbed by a large number of Standard 1’s as they flocked from their classes and followed us chanting our names and posing for photos and videos.
It doesn’t really get much better than this.
Back in the very hot classroom, Sharon and Maureen were pulling out all of their top training tactics to engage their learners and aligning their discussions with the Malawian National Education Standards.
They now have a very good idea of how to shape the training and resources that will impact and empower the Malawian HTs as part of the courses we will be running in October and February and hopefully delivered by former MLOLs.
This is the exciting next stage of our project and at the training sessions today it’s clear that although amazing progress has been made there is still a long road to walk, together we are definitely making the baby steps it takes to continue to improve learning and teaching in Malawian schools.
It was then back along the bumpy, dusty tracks to Blantyre to pick up Laura and hear her exciting tales of her successful teacher training session and their active role playing.
The teachers were very enthusiastic to take part and delighted to be sent off at the end of the day with some resources for their schools and full of ideas on how to improve their learning and teaching skills.
As we sit chatting over the day an email has pinged in from Evelyn, the District Education Manager for Blantyre Urban and full of praise for Laura’s ‘top facilitator’ skills as she was so impressed when she popped in to take part in Laura’s session.
All in all a very good day.