Friday, December 21, 2012

Trainings, Round 1

 I promised you guys an update on my actual work, and here it is.

First Methodology Training: Sat Dec 8th

I went to school like normal to make sure things were in place on Friday. I had talked to the librarian previously, she had suggested we set up the library that afternoon.

I knew Friday was a holiday, Nationalities Day (thought I think Ethinicities Day might be a better name), but had been told it was only being celebrated in Bahir Dar and had no idea what was going on when I showed up to school to find more teachers than normal milling around the teacher's lounge and a huge tent in the middle of the compound.

She's representing Afar, a region in the north where Lucy comes from. It's also a place PC says I can't visit.
Apparently my school was holding it's own mini celebration.  Which was cool in it's own right, but it prevented me from checking in with my school director or the librarian. I had no idea if things would be okay for the next morning, and the librarian didn't answer my texts about meeting up early in the morning. Plus, my flyer was missing from the bulletin board.

Well, at least I had the projector.

Saturday dawned and I made my way to the school 30 min before my 9am start time. My director was there, and as the librarian wasn't around (though she had said she was coming earlier in the week) helped me arrange the teacher's lounge as a plan B location that quickly became plan A.  Come 9 o'clock, just my counterpart had shown up, and he had mentioned something about an NGO coming to the health clinic for free eye care, including glasses if needed. There went my idea of people showing up, free glasses are much more important than a farenji training.

(And there developed another idea for an app, one that allows NGOs to post activities so they can coordinate. It's actually a bit of a problem here. Other Ethiopian brainstorms include an app that recognizes what song you are singing and then can pull up strolling lyrics, meaning you don't have to pause in your strumming during campfire sing alongs, and an app that you take pictures of your skin with so you can compare moles over time to check for melanoma. Maybe I'll use my readjustment allowance after two years to build one.)

But they did, slowly, and while I waited until 10am to start, people still came in late during activities. My training, for which I expected 30 people based on a want assessment, had only 6.  Ouch.  Plus, things didn't go as smoothly as I had written in my lesson plan.  Note to self, a 15 minute activity for Americans is a 25 minute activity for Habasha. Habashas?

However, I think the small group was an advantage. They got individual attention, and they all seemed to get the idea I was aiming for (Dale's Cone of Learning, fyi. Mini lesson: if you read something, you remember 10% of it in two weeks. If you do something, you remember 90% of it in two weeks. Shout out to Donna's friend for giving a book on math card games I used to highlight different steps of the cone.). They all left happy. While it's not a practical lesson I can observe changes in the classroom with, I am going to refer to it constantly in future trainings.

First English Training: Dec 15th 

I was a lot more unsure about who would come, mainly because I had been in Addis to help PCTs the Wednesday and Thursday before, and only got back Friday afternoon. I popped into school for a quick visit and thank Primus my training announcement was till up!

What really made me realize that the methodology training was a success was the attendance for this training, up by 50%!  Which really just means I had 9 attendees. But hey, that's three more people. Who knows how many more will show up by the end of the year?

We focused on English listening. I played a song from Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog,  "My Freeze Ray", slow beat, the words were clear, close to talking pronunciation.  I planned on them listening two times while filling the blanks in a lyric sheets. It was more I didn't actually count. But they all seemed to enjoy it. And insisted I get speakers, because the projector just hooks up to video. I'll have to do some Assella/Adama shopping around.

I really felt the cultural gap when we talked about what it meant. Even after watching the song as it progresses in the movie my teachers said it was about hard work paying off, and twisted it into a lesson about how they and their students have to practice a lot to improve.  Or just the chore of doing laundry. Er...sure guys. But I was kinda looking for the idea that the song is about a guy trying to get the courage to talk to a girl.  Regardless, they came to a conclusions by themselves, for which I'm happy with.

But still, while the comprehension  of the song wasn't really there, they got most of the blanks right, after many repeats, and I consider that a success.

For a future lesson, I want to talk about letter writing. I'd love samples from you guys to share, nothing too personal and with simple English if possible. Address is on my support page. ^_~

So, while my trainings didn't go as expected, they were still effective in some ways. And people showed up knowing up front the only thing they were getting from it was training, no per diem, no food, just further knowledge. I'm just excited that people want that.


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