This week I have had the pleasure of teaching in different schools and supporting staff with teaching methods and improving English. The differences I see in the teachers and children is immense.
I began my week at my school, Phahameng Primary. They are using some wonderful teaching strategies and varying their methods to engage learners. Teaching in Africa, you are faced with many challenges, including class overcrowding and minimal resources which are what the Grade 4 teachers at Phahameng Primary experience daily.
The lesson objective was to express positive and negative feelings. Nthabiseng began discussing emotions and how the children were feeling today and why. The lesson then moved to a class story of Handa’s Surprise.
A beautiful story about a girl carrying a selection of fruit for her friend in another village, but when she reached her friend Akeyo, all the fruit she had was gone, and she was left with just one. All the animals had stolen Handa’s fruit. The story is good for many lessons which is why the teacher choose this book, covering her integrated curriculum, Sesotho/English/Numeracy window. The children then discussed the feelings expressed in the book.
The children were then asked in groups to discuss the feelings and write them down. They were then asked to present their findings to the class. After participating in group work, class story and discussions the children were then taken outside to express feelings through a physical activity.
The children were grouped in mixed sex groups; they then played a short game of football. The winning team were asked how they feel after winning the game ‘I am happy’, ‘I am excited’ were their responses. Then the loosing team were asked to express how they felt ‘I feel sad’, ‘I am upset’ were their responses. Everyone enjoyed learning about positive and negative feelings today.
I was happy to be a part of this lesson, and to see how much progress the teachers have made.
I also participated in a fantastic lesson where the teacher had asked the children to make their own clocks to practice the skill of telling the time. Teaching time is very difficult, but even more so to children where English is a second language, especially when considering the language quarter past and quarter to. Mphetho used great visual charts to explain the differences and then asked children to show the time on their own individual clocks. They were then asked to draw clocks in their books and display the time given.
Children are enjoying these reading games thoroughly. It’s great to see a resource used so well and differentiated for different reading abilities in the class.
I also spent an afternoon at Holy Infant Primary, smaller class sizes but a very active school. I initially went into Grade 1 class to support the teacher. I introduced set 1 sounds, blending and writing the word on the chalkboard to refresh the teacher’s memory. She was then more than happy to continue with them.
I spent the last 20 minutes of the school day in Grade 3. I was happy to see how engaged the children were in the reading games the teacher had made in my previous phonic workshop. They were playing cooperatively developing their reading and numeracy skills in a fun way. They didn’t even pay attention to the school bell and were happy to stay after school playing for another 10 minutes.
I have seen great progress in phonics, teaching methods, learner’s and teacher’s engagement.