Monday, July 28, 2014

Semester of Training

New staff orientation at UCU

In June, Karl and I spent a few days in Rwanda where he conducted some Farming God's Way training for Prison Fellowship and I took advantage of the opportunity to work with the teachers from Wellspring Academy, a large Christian school in Kigali.  Some of the Wellspring teachers had attended the teacher training course at Timothy Centre last year but were not able to continue because the school holiday schedule in Rwanda did not coincide with the Uganda schedule so it was difficult for them to be away during the school terms.  They had been asking for someone to come to Kigali and help them with further training so this was a great chance to do that.  Of course, it is not possible to condense such an intense course into a two day workshop, but we were able to hit some of the highlights and they were appreciative of the help.  It is interesting that some of these teachers have been asked to provide input into the new government curriculum that is being developed for Rwanda because of Wellspring's reputation for being an outstanding school offering quality education. 
Wellspring Academy teachers

Last week we had a follow-up session with the Faculty of Social Sciences lectures that attended the intensive training we did with them in May.  It was good to have time to discuss their challenges and encourage them to keep learning and moving ahead in faith-shaped teaching.  They will be doing some work on revisions to course outlines in August so this will be an opportunity to put into practice some of the principles they have been learning.  It is not easy for lecturers to start thinking and teaching 'outside the box' of secular humanism that has been the norm for all of their years of education, but some are catching a vision for teaching for critical thinking from a biblical framework.  Exciting to see!  The next major workshop is for the Faculty of Education and Arts in September.

Another opportunity for teacher training has been with a small group of educators that is planning to begin a Christian pre-primary teacher training program called 'Master's Institute of Education'.  I was able to share some ideas about working with young children and honoring their unique educational needs to build a good foundation for creative, critical thinking and a love for learning.  Unfortunately much that takes place in early childhood education here is very poorly suited to children's needs for learning through play and discovery, so there is a lot of work to be done in this regard. Hopefully I will be able to help with a couple more training workshops for them in the next few weeks. 

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