A Travellerspoint blog

'Singing kills the boredom'

(and other Kenyan teaching tips)

I was planning to greet you in Luo after our 2 hour lesson yesterday on Luo greetings...but have promptly forgotten them all. David seems to be getting on much better with the Kiswahili and Luo pronunciation than me, (I credit David's skill to his big pouty lips.)
We've had a fairly busy week, (although the evenings are very quiet) and I am glad to say I am back in the world of teaching...
We went back to Florence's place on Tuesday- (the one where the orphans are paired up with the widows to make family units) and I sat in on a nursery class made up of thirty or forty tiny weeny ones and slightly bigger ones.
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Apparently 2 of the teachers were off at a funeral (sadly a common event here), so all three classes had been merged into one, and obviously the babies struggled to understand what was going on. I had forgotten how different the approach to teaching is in rural Africa, much more rote learning and repetition and lots of singing and chanting. One little boy passed wind and the teacher and his peers all chanted 'Bad manners, bad manners, you are rude...' The teacher said to me 'the singing kills the boredom' as the babies were wriggling around and not following the lesson. There were very few resources in the classroom, although the alphabet and numbers were strung up like in my old classroom.
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I'm planning to regularly volunteer at this nursery school, so need to work out the balance of understanding and appreciating the teaching culture already here, and introducing some of my ideas (gradually). My first idea is to collect soda bottle tops, (which litter every street), and use them for visual counting aids, as active learning doesn't seem to be a particularly high priority.
I learnt an important lesson whilst in the nursery school- don't let little munchkins sit on your lap until you have checked their bottoms. Meanwhile, whilst I was teaching numbers to 20, David was taking measurements of the solar drier to try and create one with George to dry moringa and artemisia in.
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We continued to be frustrated every day by small things, and bigger things, such as not being able to trust people and systems, and always being ripped off. David seems quite flat these days (despite his triumph in language learning) and I'm extra aware of how much we miss having friends around us to just hang out with and share frustrations and challenges with, and go somewhere to let off steam. Rosalia continues to be a God-send in helping us every day with various cultural confusions. We had a confusing event today with the people making the furniture for the new house (if it's ever ready) and Rosalia was great and reinforced our gut instincts, but it leaves you with a sour and annoyed after-taste and heightens my wariness and suspicions of people, which could be a good or bad thing.

A couple from my parents church in Reading should be coming to visit with Roger and Jos tomorrow, and it would be an understatement to say we are looking forward to seeing them.

Other news worthy, (or actually probably not worthy), of reporting... our curtains were beautifully made by the girls in Margeret's orphans project, and David took particular interest in the shower caps and aprons when we went to collect them...DSC_2388

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We are getting a kitten for our new home which we are excited about and hope we won't becme the sort of people who upload endless pictures of the cat...
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Posted by africraigs 08:45

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