Over the course of the past year, College des Savior (CS) teachers have been working with teachers from another school, Lukunga, in order to share student-centered teaching practices and new ideas, as well as build community relationships. This initiative is known as a Teachers Learning Circle. The Circle complements the students’ efforts to develop a Students’ Learning Garden, based in part on knowledge gained through community sharing. Dr. Jerry expressed the purpose of this Teachers Learning Circles initiative as one based on overall growth:
“This is an approach to help Students to flourish, to participate in the learning process in developing some skills to build up their personalities and develop a good relationship with themselves and their communities. Teachers of these two schools are coming together to test and refine this approach before spreading it.”
In June, the teachers met and shared the changes they had observed in each other since they had begun meeting. Teachers noted the introduction of new teaching techniques, like using games and brainstorming, and they also spoke of changes in their ability to relate to the students and their school.
Teachers from both CS and Lukunga shared their testimonies for new teachers to learn about how the program has impacted them.
Mr. Kibulu, of CS, said that:
“The new approach to teaching has helped students to know the importance of learning. The techniques used improve the students’ comfort and bring students to work on their own (as demonstrated in their ability to speak on their own at the Fete de Presentation).”
Mr. Chancard, also of CS, added: “This approach is a great asset to teaching that we did not have before. It improves our ability to get students more involved and active.”
Mr. Kasongo, a Lukunga teacher, spoke of the integration of many topics under this approach to teaching, such as hygiene, health, and agriculture. Another Lukunga teacher, Mr. Corneille, said that: “The methodology used helps to get students more active and encourages them to be more productive, rather than to wait for the teacher to do everything. Now, when I teach, it’s like we are playing while the students are also learning.”
Several students also shared their testimonies. Kashila noted that: “The teachers are asking us every time after they teach something, “Do you understand?” They are not tired and help us to understand.” Others commented on how they are becoming leaders in their community and have learned conflict resolution skills.
Many people in attendance commented on how they’re seeing the seeds of schoolwork bear fruits in the community. This was also evident at the Fete de Presentation, where CS students courageously performed lessons from their schoolwork for a public audience of over 300. The Lukunga teachers attended the Fete and will soon meet with the CS teachers and ten teachers from the Kapini school to evaluate the event and further engage in teacher learning.