Feed A Hungry Mind

by Education East Africa
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind
Feed A Hungry Mind

Project Report | Jun 5, 2024
Summer 2024 update

By Katy Allen-Mtui | Director

Teachers at Bright who are using the Jiandae
Teachers at Bright who are using the Jiandae

Greetings to you all and I hope this finds you in good spirits.

The schools in both Tanzania and Rwanda are near to closing for the holidays. In Tanzania this is the long mid-year break and in Rwanda the end of the school year.

In Tanzania the teachers at Bright School are enjoying using the New Original English Course (NOEC) books and the Jiandae (Get Ready) books with their pupils. It is the use of the Jiandae which is motivating pupils so much. After a short training with the Standard I and II teachers who are using the books with their 7 and 8-year-old pupils, the teachers have really taken to the course and are using the techniques in the books to elicit ideas and information from the pupils. The pupils like being made to think, and, as the course is conducted in Swahili, they enjoy the freedom of expression in their own language. At first the pupils were a bit self-conscious doing role-plays, or being asked to imitate animal noises, or greeting each other in any tribal languages they know etc. It didn’t take long before they were clamouring to have a go, and now the teachers often have to resort to ‘hands on head’ to indicate that the class should be still and silent in order to curtail the over-excitement. Teacher Janeth said to me, “I adore the course, and it’s helping the pupils a  lot”. 

Bright School is one of many English-medium primary schools that have opened in the last decade or so. The parents want their children to learn English but, to my mind, this overlooks the need to embed the native language for both cultural and pedagogical reasons. 

It is essential that young children develop their thinking skills in their native language, and that development is one of the main aims of the Jiandae course. Written in Swahili the course also looks at different Tanzanian traditions and so tries to make sure that these continue to be known by both teachers and pupils. 

As an English-medium school, the teachers at Bright are finding the use of the NOEC books a bit more difficult. The curriculum introduces English as a subject in Standard III. The English-medium schools have to follow the curriculum and so, although they try to teach using English from Standard I, it is not until Standard III that actual English lessons are on the timetable. This means that, unfortunately but inevitably, mistakes have crept in. The teachers have to gauge how to correct the misuse of sentence structures without losing the attention of the pupils and risk giving boring lessons. This is all the more difficult as it is the teachers who taught the incorrect English in the first place! This is something we are working on. It will get easier as the teachers become familiar with the content of the NOEC and get used to judging the ‘pace’ of a lesson in order to know when to move on and speed up and when to continue with the practice of an item of language.

In Rwanda back in late February Damian, Ivan and I finally had our meeting with the Honourable Minister for Education, Mr Gaspard Twagirayezu. It was a very good, and at times fun, meeting. The Minister knows us well and at one point imitated my English which was nicely cheeky and hilarious! He said that he had read all the papers I have written on various aspects of the primary curriculum for teaching English together with examination papers etc., and that he agreed with most of what I had written. My reports highlight areas of weakness and concern, and in many cases make suggestions for improvement.

The Minister asked if I would consider working with him in an advisory capacity. It was left that he would write to me in about ten days and request me to respond with a proposal. It was, we felt, a very good meeting. However, despite sending some follow-up emails we have heard nothing. I am going to wait for next year’s national budget approval which is in July, in case the Minister is waiting for a budget line for his new proposal, but the likelihood of his following up on his plan seems slim. What a shame. 

It is even more of a shame as our work in Rwanda is so very much appreciated by the schools in which we work, the teachers and, crucially, the pupils. Not only that, but Damian bumped into Dismas who is the Sector’s Director of Education. He told Damian that he always knows when he’s in a NOEC-using primary school because of the pupils’ confidence and proficiency in using English. Dismas would like our programme to be in all the primary schools in his Sector.

Teacher Josephine helped us with some teacher-training in the use of the NOEC with teachers at Murambi primary school which is new to our programme. This was hugely successful, and the follow-up sessions in the school show that those teachers new to using the NOEC are already adopting the in-built methodology and are giving good and lively lessons. 

Teacher Claudine is so used to using the NOEC (she has been using the books with us since 2017) that the techniques, methodology and language are second nature to her. A recent lesson in which her pupils stood individually to read a passage from the Pupil’s Book was impressive, with all reading confidently, clearly and with correct pronunciation, stress and intonation. This is helped each pupils having their own NOEC Pupil’s Book.

I have written before about the motivation this success in the use of English brings. The teachers use the methodology to ensure that the pupils are working and thinking, and the pupils love being pushed that bit to prove that they can do more than they thought. The teachers and pupils strive for success and find that actually it is fairly easily achievable.  This is because the NOEC introduces only one thing at a time, gives sufficient practice in it, and always revises and uses what has gone before.

Our visits to the schools bring joy in unexpected ways. The very young pupils in pre-primary love seeing our car at such close quarters and linger by it probably in the hope of being offered a lift!

It is your kind and generous support that enables our work to continue and flourish. I am most grateful to all of you who make donations. I hope that in a world of dismal news the joy and success of learning in the schools where we work is a bit heartwarming and uplifting.Many, many thanks and all good wishes,

 Katy

Hamisi's pupils keen to answer in a Jiandae lesson
Hamisi's pupils keen to answer in a Jiandae lesson
Meeting the Hon. Minister Gaspard Twagirayezu
Meeting the Hon. Minister Gaspard Twagirayezu
Josephine training other teachers to use the NOEC
Josephine training other teachers to use the NOEC
Reading aloud with Teacher Claudine
Reading aloud with Teacher Claudine
The joy of being so close to a car
The joy of being so close to a car
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Feb 8, 2024
Winter update

By Katy Allen-Mtui | Director and Trustee

Oct 13, 2023
Autumn Update

By Katy Allen-Mtui | Director

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Organization Information

Education East Africa

Location: DEAL, Kent - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KiliProject1
Project Leader:
Katy Allen Mtui
Director
DEAL , Kent United Kingdom

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