Yesterday it was wonderful to return to Blantyre Girls school. We visited the TDC here a few times last year and we were always greeted warmly by headteacher at the time, Ruth.
On arrival we were greeted by Flora, the new headteacher who had been in place for three weeks. Flora was very excited about our visit and we quickly asked to use her school’s library as part of the training.
One thing teachers are always keen to know is how can we organise our libraries for our learners. Flora agreed we could use the library to do this. She also let us borrow a selection of books that had been provided by the MLOL charity.
Something we strive to do in our training is ensure we are providing resources and information that are relevant to their situation and we were keen to use the books that we know are in schools and available to staff.
One thing every teacher takes for granted in Scotland and any other first world country would be the computer, printer and photocopier.
Here in Malawi, almost every sign or display you see in school has been painstakingly hand drawn and meticulously coloured and labelled to support the learning in the classrooms. This level of dedication and devotion is so inspiring!
The training was very successful with good, strong feedback.
Back at Kabula Lodge we worked together to evaluate the data and gather feedback for improvement. We are slowly but surely developing more and more ideas for taking the work of MLOL forward which is really exciting to be a part of.
After a quick browse in Patricia’s famous shop in Kabula and paying my rather large bill we headed to bed for an early night to make sure we are ready to deliver more training the next day.
Today was our opportunity to visit another rural teacher development centre, Nankumba. Unfortunately Sharon was under the weather today and wasn’t able to join me at the training.
Thankfully, the ever talented Charity was able to join in and give me a hand which was wonderful.
On the way to the centre we passed the hustle and bustle of Nankumba market place. The great thing about being across the whole city (both rural and urban) delivering training is you get a real insight in to the real lives of Malawians. So different to our own lives back home but yet similar in ways.
Despite being rural and many staff members having travelled long distances to be there. they were very enthusiastic and engaged.
It is inspiring to see just how much the teachers want to provide their learners with the best possible learning experience. It is clear that they see education as an opportunity for their learners to escape poverty and better themselves, despite huge class sizes (one teacher expressing he has 190 learners in his class).
Again, we all had great fun taking part in the active tasks and the participants were excited about the different ideas for engaging learners - plenty of whey heys and whoop whoops!
We explored higher order thinking skills and they were enthused by the concept of choosing our open and closed questioning carefully to use develop thinking skills.
Being back in a rural setting you really feel the difference in the way you are treated by the children. Some children are so incredibly excited to see a muzungo (white ghost) others are terrified, one girl froze on the spot and burst in to tears. A real reminder that although Blantyre seems very developed and increasingly more popular with tourists if you drive 45 minutes out of the city it is a completely different situation.
We received very positive feedback with most participants requesting more training and more time to spend looking into the different sections of the day. After a late lunch we returned back to Kabula to gather our thoughts and compare notes for the day.
Now we are geared up again ready for another day tomorrow but at the same time the thought is in the back of our heads that time is quickly running out and it’s almost time to leave the warm heart of Africa…