Hi Mardi & Matt,
Thanks for your comments here. Some thoughts from my end:
– Interesting, Mardi, you making the link between the ELD, LINGOs & TorqAid material. Not sure about the comment ‘ ‘training should not be hard work’. In my experience the best teachers I’ve seen all work hard (there is no substitute for this). However if they’re well planned, much of the stress can be taken out of it, so they can ideally enjoy at least most of this ! Teaching (certainly in a classroom of kids) is somewhat like being on stage..it’s a bit of an act/bluff, so that you’re ultimately in control of them 9rather than vice versa!)
– In future DRM Module 4’s (Teach like a Champion) I will make a reference to both andragogy (adult learning), and pedagogy (which strictly is learning for children). I have now included in the DRM bibliography at https://www.torqaid.com/resources/ a reference by the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, on Pedagogy vs Andragogy…
– There are of course times when things go flat (however well prepared you might be)..those awful silences, and time when the clock seems to grind to a halt. The challenge I think is recognising this as soon as possible, and changing tack. in Vanuatu, when we started off using the diagrams, my wife, who was there, pointed out that they weren’t really getting it (the overall concepts). I was able to therefore switch into a much more participatory exercise (the TST discussing key challenges arising out of the recent drought), which the group was better able to engage with
– In planning out teaching, it’s important to try and think ahead to the classroom room situation..In many (developing country) overseas locations, it’s much too light to use technology such as data projectors/ power-points. This was why in Vanuatu, we didn’t even bother bringing these, and beforehand had those large diagrams (DRMC/DRR) prepared in Australia (and they at first didn’t work very well as just mentioned !), together with lots of flip-chart paper, markers, Officeworks dots (for the TST), blu-tack etc. That’s why sometimes evening teaching is better, but you then have to check power-supplies, security, mosquitoes & selected bugs/vermin, as well as some people not turning up because of logistics or being too pooped !
– It’s really important where possible to get to a teaching location the day before, establish good relationships, check everything in the room (so you can deal then with major shocks!), and then have a good feed/sleep before starting the next day reasonably refreshed. Things like this minimise the stress
– It is important of course to plan out lessons (and student teachers of course have to go thru’ this). There’s obviously a balance between some decent planning, and not making this too mechanistic. With experience individuals will be able to slim this down
– Interesting comment about teaching things we may or may not like. School teachers of course have to teach some subjects they have less interest in..the good ones (teachers) will look at ways of making these interesting. As development practitioners, we’re probably lucky in that we’re normally called to teach something we have a passion about. Had a thought here to refer people to http://www.gapminder.org site which is a simply brilliant site looking at data sources/statistics (eh GNI per capita; under 5 mortality rate etc) ….really helpful for someone like me who finds stats a bit dull normally….
– Important to have good discipline..not so much a behavioural problem in our development work (fortunately), but time-discipline certain is (eg people saying they are used to ‘Pacific’ time). I think it’s really important not to go down this track (without being over-rigid on this). Anybody can turn up on time if they really wanted to..we found this in Bangladesh on my first project as a Save the Children Field director), where we had to cycle around our five locations each month to pay people (we did monitor more than that I hasten to add !). When their pay was involved, it’s amazing how people can keep to time !
– Thanks, Mardi, for your comments about teaching in the Solomons, and to you, Matt, for the challenges of cross-cultural teaching. It’s obviously more challenging teaching than in our normal western setting. Using national staff (as long as they’re skilled) can really help here. In our Indian (West Bengal) project as you may have seen from the video clips, our Bangladeshi colleague Rana did such a brilliant job of teaching (all in Bengali) that he ended up doing 90% of it….Similarly in Vanuatu, I was able to involve some of the ACOM staff to help in the facilitation and group work. . .