Day 19: The Last Workshop
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
Saturday was our last official day of our alt prac and we finished with a bang. We returned to the Aga Khan University (AKU) where we held our second and final workshop. Around 40 teachers from schools we visited earlier in Tanzania, along with masters of education students from AKU, took time out of their valuable weekend to attend. We covered the following topics in our workshop:
-professional learning communities
-daily physical activity
The attendees were split into 2 groups and each workshop was run twice. We had broken ourselves into pairs a couple of days prior and each pair developed and delivered one of the offered workshops.
Through the day we had many opportunities for developing stronger professional relationships with teachers from Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. The feedback we received from our East African colleagues was so productive and positive! I must say, we were all feeling a bit nervous about putting on this workshop because of the high level of experience the teachers attending the workshop had....as teacher candidates we have very limited experience relatively speaking! But the attendees said they learned a lot, and they provided us with some really valuable advice.
I led the Mathematical Mindset workshop with my fellow teacher candidate friend Andrea. The teachers who attended seemed most keen on making real world connections to the math curriculum. From their experiences, making real connections made the biggest impact in motivating students in math, as well as showing them the value of the subject. Another big topic that we discussed was the importance of the teacher’s attitude towards math, as well as the language they use. Think about it, when you are doing math, you are told to solve a “problem”. Instead of dealing with math problems all day long, why not change our language to say “challenge” or something more positive? In East Africa they have an additional challenge to overcome, which is that in primary school students learn math in Kiswahili....but as soon as they enter secondary school they are taught math in English! Wow! Students here are so resilient and talented...although, this change in instructional language likely impacts their enjoyment of the subject. Ultimately though, we all came to the realization that getting students interested in math (and the sciences as well) is a global issue. It is a challenge that we all face as teachers...and it isn’t just a challenge for secondary math and science teachers, it is something that ALL teachers must take on. It is everyone’s responsibility to change their narratives about math and science and help build a positive mathematical (and scientific) mindset in the next generation. I was so excited by the discussions I had with other teachers at the workshop and I cannot wait to keep in touch with them in the future!
Overall I think we all felt the workshop was quite successful and we were also happy to be officially finished our alt prac duties....what a busy (but absolutely amazing) 3 weeks we have had!