Lucy Swift and Vickie Price from St Mary Redcliffe Primary School in Bristol have returned from their third period of volunteering at our Ugandan school. Lucy is deputy headteacher and Vickie a teacher, and they have helped us improve the quality of CoH education enormously over the last few years. Here’s what they said:
“It was really great to see the progress the school has made, not only in terms of the building, but also in terms of the teaching. The behaviour system that we helped implement last year was still being carried out, with children lining up on entering the school and understanding the consequences of right and wrong choices.
“We loved catching up with all the staff and children that we met on our previous visits and was fantastic to see how much the children not just from the school, but from the local community, are enjoying the new playground.
“This year we focused on helping headteacher Mike implement new strategies that he had observed when visiting the UK. The main focus of this was group work rather than the traditional 'chalk and talk' that happens in the classrooms. All the classes had moved away from the desks being in rows and instead the desks were placed in groups which facilitated group work.
“The first week we demonstrated how to carry out group work using the classes’ current topics from the Ugandan curriculum. These ranged from topics on hotels/restaurants, peace and security to finding the area of trapeziums! The teachers observed and took part in the lessons. Our aim was to show that they could carry out creative lessons using their curriculum in a wide range of ways- group discussion, role play, drama, hot-seating, trips around the local area, debate, games etc.
“In the second week all the teachers were tasked with carrying our their own more 'creative' lesson, with us observing and supporting. At the end of our second week we worked with all the teachers on their term 3 topics to help them plan for more creative lessons.
“As always we were impressed with the willingness that all the teachers embraced the new style of teaching. The aim is that we can carry on supporting their planning while back in the UK through e-mail and Skype. The teachers also have expectations in terms of teaching creative lessons so that it becomes part of their practice.