The new year brings a time for both reflection and looking forward. Teachers at College des Saviors have been sharing how the school curriculum has influenced their personal lives. Many are applying knowledge to community or personal gardens, composting and managing waste. They are also brainstorming about how to keep students comfortable and engaged in the learning process moving forward. Some suggested verbal encouragement, others motivational activities, and also the teachers have suggested to “promote teamwork between students because very often they apply themselves more by working together.”
Four students, who have all studied a combination of the GBA educational modules over the past five years, joined the teachers in reflection. The students range from 6th to 11th grade. In a presentation to the teachers and guests, the students reviewed key points from the clean water, waste management, nutrition, and agriculture/sustainability curriculums and demonstrated the application of those lessons into their lives. Ebimba, the 11th grader, elaborated on the water cycle and drew the connection between unclean water and water-borne diseases. Sixth grader Pombo spoke on the difference between biodegradable and nonbiodegradable waste, and all students presented on highlights from the curriculums they had participated in, as well as the school garden.
The students took questions from the group and shared anecdotes from their personal lives. Kongolo, from the 8th grade, helped convince his neighbors to start a garden, and in doing so, provide healthier food options for the family. After the presentation, staff made a visit to Kongolo’s home to see his own garden and animal husbandry work and talk with his family. They also saw the neighbors’ garden that Kongolo influenced-- which used to be just empty land! Ebimba shared about his system at home to separate and biodegradable and nonbiodegradable waste. Ntumba Nadege, in 7th grade, discussed nutrition with her family, asking her mother to incorporate a larger variety of foods, and locally available ones, into their diet.
Attendees were impressed by the students’ presentational skills and their demonstrated mastery of the curriculum material. Even though the students had little time to prepare for the presentation, their energy was high and their efforts were well-received by all. The students led the group with the skill and composure of teachers themselves, having come full circle in learning, applying, and now sharing their knowledge with others. Next up for the students and teachers in an Integrated Review of material, covering many topics and using peer groups and innovative strategies for the review.