The 2015 M&E visit began on Wednesday 8th April at St. James Primary School in Maseru. Gareth and I went to visit Rob and saw part of a phonic lesson in Grade 2A where the children were beginning to blend words beginning with ‘b’. We then saw a creative number lesson that used inventive imagery for mathematical symbols. Rob has also developed a library and has created a stimulating environment for the children to use.
Following this, we travelled to Quthing for our next set of visits to commence the following day. We started in Villa Maria Primary School and were treated to an amazing literacy lesson taught by Rachel involving props, a story and pupil participation in order to extend vocabulary. It was encouraging to see the Basotho teacher working alongside Rachel and together they have created a visually stimulating classroom.
She then moved to Standard 7 where we observed a team teaching lesson which challenged children with their vocabulary and definitions of words within a given text. It was inspiring to see Keneuoe and Rachel naturally working as a team and drawing on each others’ strengths.
The next day was the turn of Alice in Moyeni Primary School. We initially went to a team teaching lesson in a lively Grade 1 class. The lesson began with a recap of phonics that had been taught and the children knew these exceptionally well. They then moved onto the main lesson which involved dressing the teddy in order to teach key English vocabulary. Children participated in dressing the prepared cardboard teddy at the front and the two teachers worked well together in order to ensure all the children understood and participated. We were then treated to a Grade 3 lesson in which the learners used the story ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ to describe feelings.
This was a large class of 77 children but they were on task and enjoyed listening to the story. There were only three teachers to observe this year. However, it has been a delight to be a part of their teaching journey and consequently we got to see more of their lessons. They have worked hard to include the Basotho teachers once again in their teaching in order to give them the tools to continue after the Welsh teachers have left.
Following the M&E visits, we had the task of selecting three Basotho teachers to come to Wales for two months. This proved far more difficult than anticipated. An assessment morning was planned between Sharon, Gareth and myself. We each led tasks for the teachers to work together in different groups. They all participated and engaged fully in the activities. Rachel and Alice kindly made a large amount of sandwiches for lunch for everyone. During this time, we had to decide who to say goodbye to and who to select for an interview. We decided to interview eight candidates. Once again, they showed their strengths and a difficult choice lay ahead. However, a decision had to be made.We selected the three but offered three others reserve places if for any reason any of the original choices would be unable to go. When we informed them of our decision, as you can imagine some were disappointed and some were overjoyed! An exciting time ahead! It was at this point that we had to say goodbye to Gareth. A trip back to Maseru, fond farewells and the M&E visit was over.
I have been fortunate enough to stay in Lesotho with Sharon to undertake some Literacy Leap work and so have been able to witness the dedication of our Welsh teachers and our Basotho teachers. Kim has lead and managed the development of workshops that have included Basotho teachers as the facilitators. This has been a resounding success! Plans can be laid down for the next year that will help to sustain this change and effectively develop the LTPP 2016 programme.