Sunday 31 December 2017

CONNECTING CLASSROOMS

Connecting Classrooms is a British Council global education programme for schools, designed to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values, to live and become globally aware in the 21st century economy to contribute both locally and globally. British Council Ethiopia is now in its third year of delivering Core Skills training to school leaders and teachers in both government and private schools across Ethiopia. The project is delivered in partnership with Regional Education Bureaus.

STUDENT LEADERSHIP AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

The future of a global society is dependent on those that lead it. It sounds dramatic, but the students of today are the leaders of an unknown future. ‘After the training I have decided to show them, they can do it, to let them have their own voice.’ Meskerem, teacher

It is a challenge to empower every child in a class of 106 but Meskerem was determined to address her students’ lack of self belief. Even when homework was set they rarely had the conviction to tackle it alone. The Core Skills training gave Meskerem the confidence and tools she needed to address her concerns. She made her lessons varied using different methods like interview role plays, bringing in natural teaching materials from outside and using fun activities like origami and warm ups to enhance learning. She saw confidence grow in her students, the enjoyable classes had helped them understand their lessons, they now said to her, ‘I can try it on my own!’.

CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION

Creativity and imagination are essential human capacities. They enable us to express thoughts, feelings and aspirations, and help us to fashion our ever changing culture.

Bizunesh teaches Grade 3 in Eastern Ethiopia. Her classroom is full of students but empty of materials. The Core Skills training taught Bizunesh how to think creatively to find resources that could help her students learn. Once her imagination had been opened up so were her students’ minds. To understand social science they grew plants, collecting seeds, soil and pots from their compound. In Maths they used phone cards, the numbers aiding their learning. Now both Bizunesh and her students are never short of materials. They have something colourful to see, different textures to touch, materials to smell. Because of this creative approach the students can understand through all their styles of learning and all their senses.

CITIZENSHIP

Education must fully assume its central role in helping people forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies.

Asrat wanted his students to understand the importance of working together for the common good. He knew that through a shared approach they could learn how to manage themselves and their school. He realised that this would deepen his students’ feeling of ownership and responsibility and would help them realise the value of citizenship. Learning the Core Skills empowered Asrat to reintroduce a school parliament. He used skills he had learned to energise and enable his students to become responsible leaders. The parliament was a success, it now authors the rules and regulations of the school and collaborates with its many other clubs, which enables the school to work together as one big community.

DIGITAL LITERACY

Digtal technologies are rapidly becoming embedded in more and more aspects of our daily professional, social and personal lives.

Deputy Headteacher Abera is a good listener to his staff. He heard them when they were worried about extra workload, lack of computers and lack of digital literacy skills. But the Core Skills had trained him to see the value in using digital media, his students needed to be digitally literate for their futures and to enable this his teachers needed to be as well. Abera implemented a change, he empowered his teachers to try to use computers in every area of their work, his problem solving skills helped him share the digital resources out and he supported his staff to develop their teaching. Now Abera is seeing positive results. His teachers have improved their digital literacy skills and are passing them on to their students. Everyone has developed personally with their confidence in using technology improved and the students’ results are going up too.