By Francois Cissoko, Teachers Project Coordinator
Our teachers are aware of the weight of their responsibilities. To meet those responsibilities, they are ready for anything. This can mean the weeks are long for them, because they take their weekends to meet each other and improve their skills. They travel miles to hold meetings where some take the role of instructors for other teachers who may not have had the training opportunities they have had.
Middle schools teachers in Mali are marginalized in terms of training. After limited education in school, they are sent to the classroom to sink or swim. That’s why teachers will rush to learn and exchange ideas with their fellows whenever they get that chance.
January 27th this year was a sensational example of this kindness of heart between teachers from Mali Rising partner schools, when a group of our teachers in the Sikasso region came together to learn from each other at a peer meeting. The teachers thank Mali Rising’s supporters for having made the event come true.
This day was an opportunity for knowledge transfers and exchanges of skills and ideas for creating active learning among students. Teachers of English, French, science, geography, and history held separate meetings to share ideas relevant to their subjects. In attendance were teachers from four Mali Rising partner schools in the villages of Dovong, Lofiné, Mamarasso, and Touban.
Teachers helped each other by sharing ideas for preparing strong lessons and skills for managing both large class sizes and small group work. Then they exchanged creative ideas about their specific subjects. For example, teachers shared ideas about the best ways to make English come more alive in the rural school environment and how to make science lesson meaningful in the real world.
The day was filled with ample activities that could make these sixteen teachers more effective. After the initial discussions, teachers translated their newly gained skills into small lessons they presented to the other teachers. Their work was observed and criticized by three pedagogical advisers, including a scientist, a language expert, and a literacy specialist.
It’s important to recognize that all these events were made possible thanks to the courage of the teachers who benefit from our December 2018 teacher training and then seized the opportunity to share with those who did not have the chance to participate in that training. For the teachers, the peer meeting is an important follow up to the training, which makes them more effective in the daily exercise of their profession.
When our teachers come together for the same cause, they prove that in union is strength and move forward united as one.