Friday, June 13, 2008

LTP Teacher Workshops

This week, we held LTP teacher workshops on Wednesday, Thursday, and today (Friday). On Wednesday, we did a "reading pictures" and writing exercise. We started with a photograph of an African tribal scene and made a list of all the details we could see in the picture. Then, we did a short writing in which each person pretended to be a person in a picture - essentially, everyone made up a story of the person based on the details in the picture. Then, we did our first LTP-themed activity, which was dreams. We used digital cameras for this exercise, and I was surprised at how difficult it was to teach the teachers to use the digital cameras - it was a pretty new thing for them. First, we a drew a picture of a scene from a dream we remembered, then we went out in groups of four (two teachers and two DukeEngage students in each group) to shoot pictures of everyone's dreams. This was pretty fun and allowed the teachers and students to be creative together. That night, Katie and Elena made prints of the dream pictures using digital camera printers that we brought.

On Thursday (yesterday) morning, we received the prints of our dream pictures and did a writing exercise with them. We then introduced the LTP alphabet theme. My group elected to do a science/math themed alphabet, since both of the teachers I was working with teach math and science. For each letter, A through Z, we came up with a science or math word that was appropriate for the grade levels that they teach (standards 5, 6, and 7). Then, we took a few hours to shoot the 26 photos illustrating different math and science concepts. For this, we used simple 35 mm film cameras. These cameras posed much less of a struggle, and the teachers did well with them. Katie and Elena took the four rolls of film from the four groups to be developed that evening.

Finally, today, we learned about the LTP self-portrait theme. We began by each drawing a simple picture of ourself, and labeling different parts of ourselves that for some reason define who we are. For instance, I labeled my mouth as a part of myself that I use for talking, laughing, and singing - three things that are very important to me. Then, we used this to plan self-portraits that highlighted certain parts of our bodies. One of the teachers I was working with wanted to focus on his legs, so he stood on a huge stump outside the school and we took the picture from below - this perspective made his legs look huge in comparison to the rest of his body. We shot these pictures with Polaroid cameras - by now, the teachers had become much more familiar with framing, shooting, etc. Finally, we received the prints of our alphabet pictures and made posters with captions describing each picture. At the very end of the workshop, we discussed with the teachers a plan for making LTP work in their individual classrooms over the next few weeks.

The most difficult thing about the LTP teacher workshops was probably communication, because there was a wide range of mastery of English among the teachers. All in all, though, they went well. Apart from having the workshops from 8:30 AM to 3 PM every day, we've still been having Swahili lessons from 4-5:30. We usually spend a couple of minutes playing with kids that are outside for recess before the workshops, and they are adorable. I can't wait to start actually teaching in a classroom.

Random Swahili words you will all recognize and enjoy:
simba - lion
rafiki - friend
hakuna matata - There are no worries. The people here like to say this in the street to foreigners, because they know we'll recognize it.

1) Hard at work in the LTP teacher workshops (Alia, Ami, Dija, and two teachers).
2) Shooting Lloyd's self-portrait (his legs looked HUGE!)
3) Two of the teachers admiring the results of one group's alphabet project.
4) Me with a bunch of kids at Arusha School before Swahili class. Lindsay is in there somewhere too, if you look carefully.


kcr1012 said...

Hilary!!! Thank you, thank you for your wonderfully detailed descriptions of the progress of the LTP program and your experience in Arusha so far. I am anxious and excited to join you! If there's anything you or anyone in the group would like me to bring from home or if you have packing suggestions for me, just let me know.


Alden said...

Isn't "pumbaa" warthog?