Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Amawus School

A sleep is as good as a rest - Amawus School - Tuesday

Well, today is much more positive. Over dinner the group did so much planning to try and get ready for today. There was much conversation about whether we should do the same things - but I was really impressed by how proactive everyone was. The other group from the other school were just the same, discussing their sessions late into the night and very early this morning. There's a real sense that they want to get this right, to really be valuable while we are here.

It would be easy to sit back and just observe - the learners love having us here, as do the teachers so we could rest on our laurels. But it is amazing how quickly you connect to these pupils and want the best for them. 

Today I started by observing a lesson with Sarah. Observation quickly turned into teaching and Sarah was very good at working with the students at their level. As we moved into teaching metre, centimetre and millimetre my 30 year old brain was starting to show. The teacher was impressed, although worried when Katy said we don't have kilometres in England and tend to use miles in travel, she quickly realised we would try our best. 

Over in the reception class Sophie L, Emilie and Holly watched some class before helping them with their writing and spelling. The teacher was very impressed by how Sophie used 'join the dots' to help them write their own names - 'This is a great strategy' she said, 'I will use this always'.

Today we were given even more freedom, and although the group seemed a little smaller than normal we were managing the work much mor easily. The balance of students to learners seemed to be working really well. 

So, a really great start and we're hoping to do more Drama today too with some of the older groups who seem really interested in taking part.

Meeting the Chief - Amawus School - Monday

After a great start the groups started to break up. Sarah, Hollie, Hev, Sophie and Katy helped the children make masks of their favourite animals that they can wear for the performance tomorrow. I thought it was a really great idea - even if the children couldn't perform something completely, they could be apart of it with what they made. It reminded me of the Ham House birthday a few years ago when we allowed participants to make puppets and costumes. By working like this the participants had real investment in the work, and that's the thinking here. After a very chaotic 10 minutes as the youngest learners (around 50 of them) piled into one classroom before being escorted into two the children really enjoyed drawing and showing off their masks to each other and to their teacher. 

In the other groups the games had moved indoors and were working on some really strong images and freeze frames - exploring 'happy' and 'angry' as well as community, future self and how they can make these things happen. Natalie and Tom managed to get some good work out of a pretty rowdy group of boys - the picture above showing what makes them happy. In Jordan and Emilie's group there was a group of girls who really knew how to make an angry face and started to understand the Drama games much more quickly that yesterday.

However, the biggest difficulty today has been momentum - every time you start to build something something happens to change it. Either lunch, or choir practise, or the heat and so building the Drama work into something this afternoon has been difficult. However, the learners are all engaged and enjoying what they're doing all the time. 

The most interesting development are a few children who love to write and so this afternoon Natalie and Sarah have been working with 2 girls who like to rap and have been helping them write lyrics in English. The appreciation those girls have is vast. This morning one of them brought guava for Sarah and Nat to try and they gave reciprocal gifts - a packet of skittles and 2 chocolate eclairs. Such a small thing but the young girl was clearly overwhelmed at the generosity. 

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