During the first day, I led a session on unit planning. We didn’t really know much about the Nepali curriculum and how the teachers at Gloria School approached lesson planning before we got there. So as I went through my session on unit planning, we discussed the importance of backwards design, coming up with essential questions and creating learning activities and assessments for a unit. It was difficult to read the teachers at first, because only a few of them would answer questions or ask questions.
We found out that the idea of unit planning was a new idea for the teachers. They followed a set curriculum, and had textbooks to teach the materials. One of the problems they did mention was a lack of resources to supplement their textbooks. We had them make a poster answering questions about how unit planning and what we were teaching them would work for Gloria school. As each group shared their poster, it felt like a breakthrough. One of the groups poster stated:
Things to ponder:
1. Backward design as it is beneficial for long term, goal oriented
2. It’s more systematic.
3. Provide them fishing rod.
4. Equipping children for future beyond the test.
I loved that they wrote for number three, “provide them fishing rod”. Melody gave a great analogy during one of the earlier sessions saying that as educators, we don’t want to just teach to the test, but we need to give them the tools, that would help them catch the fish. You know that analogy that instead of giving a man a fish every day to eat, teach him how to fish, and he will be able to eat for a lifetime… Well, it was great to see the teachers thinking deeper about their teaching, that it should not all about just teaching to a test.
One of the workshops that I led was on using the writing workshop method in the classroom. I was really excited to share about this because I felt that it fit with the idea of providing students with the fishing rod. I shared with my group of teachers that teaching students to be a great writer is such a valuable tool to give them. This tool will not only help them in school, but in their future jobs. I also shared that their students seem to have these incredible stories and voices that need to be heard and shared through their writing.
I first asked the teachers in my group if they considered themselves to be a writer. They each shook they’re head and said “no”. One of them said, I used to be a writer, but not anymore. I gave them the opportunity to start writing a personal narrative. We didn’t have much time, but as I conferred with them and read their writing, I was really moved and impressed. One of the teachers wrote about her last moment with her grandmother and another about visiting Korea for the first time last year. As we ended our workshop, I told them that they were all writers, and that they needed to let their students know that they are all writers, and build that confidence in them. I even asked two of the students to share their writing with all the teachers during our final celebration on Friday. I was moved by both of their writing pieces.
The last moment of breakthrough was during our final project presentations. More on that in part 3! 🙂