9 09 2008

I am going back a bit before I discuss what we did at the inset training to review what I actually managed to do at Gwengwe.  I would like a detailed record of this as I want to know what they actually keep up!

Within a couple of days of arriving at the school I made up a list of positive things, and a list of things to work on.

Positives (not necessarily by all teachers but I saw it happen by some at least!)

  • Use of praise
  • Use of talular (teaching and learning using locally available resources)
  • Group work
  • Active learning
  • Working with the local environment
  • Explanations and examples (sometimes)
  • Behaviour and listening skills of learners
  • Gender balance
  • Enthusiasm of learners
  • Enthusiasm of some teachers and a willingness by all of them to learn
  • Involvement of local community

Could work on:

  • punctuality (starting with teachers)
  • Use of teachers time/classes being left
  • School finishing early
  • Dead time for individuals/groups while in class
  • Literacy
  • Active learning in all classes, in different ways

Development Plan

The following were priorities on this session’s development plan:

  • School starting time
  • School rules clearly stated, displayed and followed
  • Staff meetings to be held regularly
  • Improve learners recording, thinking critically and understanding contexts.

Also stated were:

  • Self-assessment of learners
  • Start youth clubs and physical exercises
  • Assessment of teachers
  • Encourge parents more to take part in school activities
  • Parents to help with homework
  • Teachers to follow what parents advise if appropriate

Schools, and not just the ones the GT’s were going to, have had help from LINK to form their development plans this year as this is one of the things the LINK Malawi office were developing.

I decided to try to focus on the ones that were prioritised and also self-assessment of learners, youth groups, assessment of teachers and try to do something about involving the parents.

I kept a list that I kept adding to and by the end of my time I felt I had achieved the following well:

  • Establishing and displaying school rules
  • Introduced strategies for timekeeping and set a good example.  Rearranged timetables so that they were not doing English, chichewa and maths first thing and children were not missing this
  • Got a teacher for St7 by combining St6 and 7 and rearranged all timetables to ensure other teachers are helping in the afternoons
  • Managed to get funding for a teacher for St2 and they got a classroom
  • Introduced monitoring of teachers, modelled it and the feedback myself, including written feedback(very postitive) and left guidelines and feedback sheets
  • Established a regular time for staff meetings and gave them structure (not sure if this will continue as previous to this they had only had 4 meetings in the last year and a half)
  • Introduced pe games
  • Moved all classes into groups
  • Introduced mental maths and active learning games into maths
  • Introduced jolly phonics and some training on reading, including paired reading and active learning
  • Sorted and tidied cupboards and resources and made some office space
  • Introduced athletics, rounders and scottish dancing and tried to make a regular time for after school clubs

The following I did but could not spend as much time on:

  • Introduced thinking skills and left them with strategies to try
  • Gave them more of a structure for their lessons including sharing learning intentions and success criteria and a plenary etc
  • Self-ssessment and self-evaluation by pupils
  • Tried out peer marking a few times and hopefully this will continue

The teachers had their learning intentions etc in their planning but did not share this with pupils partiuclarly.  Their daily lesson plans were an utter waste of time but this comes from way up high and there was not much we could do about it except express our concerns to the PEA’s.  All they did was copy the lesson plan from the teachers guide into a jotter.  There was no need for it whatsover. 

They also had forward plans which also seemed to be a lot of copying and writing for the sake of it. Not that ours are perfect of course!  They were starting to do continous assessment in that they had a book that had checklists and they ticked off when pupils could do things which I often saw them doing while physically going round the classroom and checking this.  Must be hard with 100 pupils though!  There was some space for self-evaluation in their plans but they just wrote the same things all of the time like ‘learning was achieved through questions and answers’.

I have found the test that St2 were set in english at Fumba Primary, it is quite interesting!  These children should only be 7 and have only been learning english a year and a half by this point.

  1. This is a ____________ (plate, door)
  2. This is a ____________ (ball, tree)              (Pictures were drawn beside the questions)
  3. Make 2 sentences from the words below.

          We  play/eat/sing  together at home

  1.  I like _____________ (thieves/nsima)
  2. A nurse gives ______________ (medicine/poison)
  3. A driver drives a ____________ (car/moon)

The results ranged from 0 to full marks with the majority being in the low to middle range.  I thought it was pretty hard as they would not have learnt a lot of these words yet.



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