Jun 092016
 

mayi10
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia

By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
mayi8
We began the site visit at Mayi Ayni Elementary School with our conversations with the school leader Ato Amanuel since we arrived earlier than the set time for the conducting the professional development. In our conversations with the director we were shared the following existing level of implementation:

  • We were told that the schools top ten students were chosen for Thinking Maps training and were given Thinking Maps trainings as leaders.
  • Thinking Maps were required in lesson planning to be the pedagogical tools creatively employed for facilitating lessons in ALL subjects . Deputy director, Elsa Hadush, told us that she was observing classes where teachers were required to demonstrate their uses for facilitating students thinking with contents. She shared that there were observed three outstanding teachers in terms of competent uses of the maps. One of these, the teacher Gidey Embaye, was interviewed.
  • We were also shared that community building exercises were used and found helpful during assembly of students for singing the National Anthem and other events of the assembly.

mayi9Then since we still have enough time before we get ALL teachers together in a room for mini- professional development we were invited to observe teacher Gideys class which was being conducted.

Why was our day beautiful:
Gideys class made our day. We entered her class and observed students actually forming words in Tigrigna that begin with a given letter / alphabet in a circle of a bubble map. She first asked students to list all members of an alphabet in Tigrigna by writing on a blackboard. A student takes a chance and walks in front of the class to write all members of an alphabet , he tries exhausting writing all of them and he himself then gives a chance for any one of the girls in the class to continue with the writing of members of a different alphabet, then the girl alternatively assigns a boy, then a girl, followed by a boy…

mayi2Afterwards the task changes into forming words that begin with a letter: the letter being in the central circle of a bubble map , the bubbles then are filled with words whose initial letter is the letter in the central circles. Students were alternately changing chances on the basis of gender to accomplish tasks assigned to them. Then the teacher tried to draw a tree map with the different categories being the different letters of the alphabet. Students were actual alternatively taking chances to form different words under the different letters.

Key notes

  • mayi7Teacher Gidey had not take any of the trainings conducted in any of the phases. She was not exposed to the trainings the three of us facilitated. Seh learned from the Trainer of Trainer and other colleagues
  • She actually used a technique of alternatively using chances for eliciting students responses. Boys assigning tasks to girls whom they chose and girls assigning boys to tasks and so on.
  • The thinking maps and a pedagogical strategy was used instrumentally to support the attainment of goals of literacy.

We have seen different levels of impmayi3lementation so far in the form of transfer for other teachers who did not take visual tools trainings, portfolios of teachers using the maps in their class rooms, efforts of introducing the maps to students and bring about the awareness of the maps, but we have not seen as solid an outcome as these students actual demonstration of the mastery of vocabulary building, active, generative and productive engagement of their brains in the construction of knowledge of words and their classes.

It is important to mention here that deputy director Elsa shared that she was supporting the real class room uses of Think-Pair-Share as a strategy and Powerful Questions techniques.

mayi4We then began the theoretical discussion with community building exercises which we consolidated by facilitating participants reflective thinking about the community building exercises.

Then Atsede did a demonstration lesson on patriots and their deeds. She initially modeled the use of circle maps to brain storm about patriotism with a student and then asked students to work in pairs to do the same which was followed by whole group sharing of works in paired groups which she expanding using questioning .

She then modeled the use of bridge map for seeing the relationship between different patriots and their respective patriotic deeds.

During Debriefing

Teachers saw that:

  • mayi6The use of the bridge map was instrumental for facilitating collaborative groups learning.
  • Useful as a summarising tool.
  • Was shared that it saves time. It was noted that Atsede were able to use two different maps within short period of time.

Interview with Teacher Gidey revealed that:

  • Their use of the maps engages the students / students take more time during class room teaching and learning.
  • Students are motivated when the work using the maps / they are more interested when using the maps.
  • It is a powerful assessment technique.
  • Students mastery of a lesson is easily seen.

 

  • mayi12School Name : Mayi Ayni Elementary School
  • Directors Name : Amanuel Kidane
  • Deputy Directors Name : Elsa Hadush
  • Directors phone number : 0921989833
  • Deputy directors phone number : 0945492443
  • Total number of teachers : 23 including leadership
  • Trained Teachers : 11
  • ToT Trainer : 1

mayi1Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 

 Posted by at 12:07 pm
Jun 082016
 

teshome11
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia

By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
teshome5At Teshome Elementary School serious attention is given to the transfer of the maps for other teachers who did not previously take the training. Each teacher who had taken Thinking Maps training is assigned with a map which he is expected to transfer for those who were not trained. This is a very thoughtful strategy for transfer to take place for other teachers. We have seen the training manual they prepared.

The Woreda supervisor was present and attended the training and expressed his support and also comments. His comment was “it is key that the Wereda office of noted of and assigned with the role of supporting whole school implementation ofthe Thinking Schools Ethiopia quality education approach including Thinking Maps. It’s awareness and involvement is described crucial.

teshome7Our site visit to Teshome Elementary School in the northern state of Tigrai in Ethiopia began with our meeting with the school director. We explained what the goals of the day, described how the day is going to look like, and asked for the facilitation of room for the professional development at the school, and classroom demonstration lessons.

We discussed the theoretical underpinnings of the Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) model, TSEs Principles, and the research basis of visual tools in the areas of brain research and cognitive psychology.

Atsede subsequently described the Collegial Coaching model, which was actually used and modeled, and did the demonstration lesson. We then asked for teachers questions, observations, thoughts and comments on the demonstration lesson.

teshome10Atsede modeled the using circle map with a student on peace keeping, administration of justice and offices and institutions meant for it. It needs to be noted that Atsede modeled not only the use of the map for cultivating panoramic / holistic thinking but also used the frame of reference for elaboration of students thinking and cited examples through powerful questioning with the student.

Then she implemented the Think-Pair-Share collaborative learning strategy for facilitating the construction of the map in pairs by students and then whole group sharing which she had the students elaborated, clarify and strengthen through citing evidences and real instances by using powerful questioning.

teshome6At the debriefing we asked for thoughts, observations and questions on the demonstration lesson. Teachers saw that:

  • The use of the maps has enabled students freely express their ideas, generate information, and organize their thinking .
  • Students were seen as effectively functioning collaborative learning groups.
  • They saw that the lesson shared during the briefing session was implemented as planned.

teshome1Students were scheduled to sit for model exams . The director worked on the schedule so that teachers attended to the professional development first. She decided to administer the model exams in the after noon. This is a beautiful leadership from the school.

There is a class / a section they labeled a laboratory section where Thinking Maps are beautiful drawn / painted on a cloth with their names and their specific cognitive processes they represent.

The laboratory class is richly decorated with the different examples of use the Thinking Maps . Needs to be noted that the example of the use of the maps by students and teachers is fluent and accurate. One example is; the use of bridge map for the capital and teshome4small letters of the English alphabet. The goal is teaching hand writing / literacy. You the small letter of the Capital letter A is written (here the small letter is shown in writing) as the small letter of B is … Very curious and encouraging.

School Name : Teshome Elementary School

Name of the Director : Aster G/Eyesus

Directors Phone number : 0914230673

Total # of teachers teaching in the school : 30

Trained Teachers : 15

teshome8ToT Trainers : 1

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

teshome10

 Posted by at 11:43 am
Jun 072016
 

mayhanse1Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

mayhanse6We reached the Mayhanse Elementary School early in the morning since it would otherwise be too hot to carry out the site visit. We secured a class room for the professional development and classrooms of students for conducting the demonstration lessons.

We began the training with community building exercises (leading the group forming a circle showing patterns of bodily movements, hand patterns, creative movements with legs, hand and body). We used the hand symbols of Thinking Maps for hand shown patterns signifying the purpose of the professional development training at the site.

mayhanse8Then we discussed the Principles of the TSE model, research bases of Visual Tools in the areas of neuroscience and cognitive psychology. We then modeled the collegial coaching model: Briefing – Lesson – Debriefing. Atsede did a class room demonstration lesson on a content related to regional organizations and their goals.
She first modeled the use of circle map with a student . And practiced Think—Pair—Share with the students.   Then she subsequently modeled the use of Bridge Map with a student before ALL the children.

Observations at the Site:

  • The students are introduced with Thinking Maps at the school. They know what each thinking map is used for.
  • There has already taken place professional development trainings by the school leaders themselves. There are clear evidences of efforts exerted to bring about whole school implementation of the maps.
  • mayhanse5I was able to hear a lead student introducing Thinking Maps in another class leading students identify each of the maps by calling out loud their names.
  • Beautiful leadership : we were warmly welcomed (made cups of coffee. The coffee was made by a woman who had to come where we are with her cups, other utensils from a place away from the school, bottles of water ). There was a positive leadership with a welcoming spirit. They asked about Robert Seth Price (international trainer at the previous October sessions) and why he was not with us for the site visit.

Contact Address and School Information

  • Directors Name: Mebiratom Mlaw
  • Total number of Teachers: 42 including leadership
  • Trained Teachers : 24
  • ToT Trainers : 1
  • Directors Phone number : 0914155292


mayhanse3Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

mayhanse9

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Jun 022016
 

hitsets5
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
We conducted an interview at Hitsets Primary School with the mathematics teacher Zeray Kidane.

hitsets math teacher 2Here were the interview questions and their  responses:

Q: what do you think are the powerful uses of Thinking Maps?
A: we are able to cover portions, the maps help students understand contents easily.

Q: How do you explain what you shared about Thinking Maps uses of supporting students understanding of contents?
A: for example my students were able to use the tree map for classifying triangles into different categories on the basis of their angular measurements.

hitsets math teacher 1Q: What other uses of the maps could you think of?
A:  the maps could be used as energizers . My students enjoy my class. They are always eager to learn mathematics using Thinking Maps.

Q: What do you think are the limitations of using Thinking Maps?

A: one limitation is resources, we don’t have papers and markers and students have not yet cultivated the skills of communication and working before their class mates. Students shy away, are usually less confident and are afraid of working with me before the class and sharing their works for their class mates.

htisets7Q : Why do you think that some teachers do not use the maps as effectively?
A: teachers still really feel that they have not truly taught when they use student centered pedagogies. Their belief only in the teachers centered strategies have not yet changed and this is true of myself too.

Q: What do you think needs to be done for supporting whole school implementation of Thinking Maps?
A: There has to be a leadership support. There has to be genuine conviction on the part of school leaders, there has to be a planned effort for allowing experience sharing to take place and finally follow up is key and needed very much.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.


Tigrai, Ethiopia model school leadership teams.

 Posted by at 2:52 pm
Jun 012016
 

degena4
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia

By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

degena10This blog posting is for both Degena and Adi Abezut Elementary Schools.

At Degena Elementary School we began the site visits with professional development sessions including discussing about the theoretical aspects of the model and its research bases. The professional development sessions are very participant centered with hands on learning. This models the goal of a student centered classroom model.

degena1We then did class room demonstration lessons. Atsede taught a lesson on riparian states about water sharing and distribution among the states via modeling the use of a Circle Map with a student before the class. She later asked to students to Think-Pair-Share information on ideas and thoughts on the topic. Each group shared their works in the class with the whole class of students. We modeled the collegial coaching model with teachers including: Briefing – Lesson – Debriefing, as part of the demonstration lesson.

degena6degena8degena7

adi2
adi5At Adi Abezut Elementary School Atsede did a demonstration lesson on regional organizations where she modeled the use of Thinking Maps with a student. She implemented the Think-Pair-Share pedagogical tool for peer to peer learning to support students independent thinking and collaborative works.

At Adi Abezut Elementary School we began the site visits with professional development sessions including discussing about the theoretical aspects of the model and its research bases. The professional development sessions are very participant centered with hands on learning. This models the goal of a student centered classroom model.

adi7Atsede modeled the collegial coaching model with teachers including: Briefing – Lesson – Debriefing, as part of the demonstration lesson.

Observations during the trainings included it is very important that teachers understand the collegial coaching model so teachers see the need for projecting (understanding processes and procedures to actually be used for experimenting and learning from each other as key component of professional development and improved practice throughout academic years of the collegial coaching model that we model.

adi3Degena Elementary School

Directors Name : Mebiratu Birihane

Deputy Directors Name : Gidey Tsewa

Total number of teachers: 30

Trained Teachers at training in October: 14

 

Adi Abezut Elementary School

Directors Name : Goesh Seyoum

Total number of teachers : 19

Trained teachers at training in October: 16

ToT trainer : 1

 

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 11:59 am
Jun 012016
 

hitsets3
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
hitsets6Hitsets Primary School is about 80 Kms away from Shire and descending into the low lands where temperature reportedly reaches up to 43 degree centigrade [109F]. A hot dry place that is truly tropical low land altitude that is said to be 500 meters from mean sea level). The location is where refugees from Eritrea established settlements . Where they have their village built. Very interesting that the school is further away from this village.

We were warmly received at the school where the school leaders and educators were really hospitable. Cups of coffee (repeatedly), bottle of cold water, soft drinks, refreshments.

hitsets5We began our site visit at Histets Primary School with a consultation with the School Principal Yemane G/Medihin. Since the director was new to the school who did not participate in the previous trainings we explained ALL the preceding phases of trainings conducted (as implementation phases instrumentally translating the whole school transformational approach the model adopts as an approach) and explained that today’s site visit is part of and follows from the preceding phases of trainings.

We began the training with community building exercises. We but changed our strategy of conducting the mini- professional development work. We decided the model the use of ALL eight maps sitting on a desk at the center with ALL the teachers observing, sharing, recording, drawing the maps in collaboration with us.

hitsets1Before our modeling of the use of ALL eight maps with the teachers we quickly reviewed the maps showing hand symbols. We worked with the teachers working on using ALL eight maps calling for their active engagement and done introducing them with the maps. Following this Atsede did a class room demonstration lesson with students whose class room was a TENT. Atsede modeled the use of circle map on a content related to communication media with a student from grade 7. She used Think-Pair-Share and scaffolded it from Teacher-Student, to Student-Student, to all students in pairs followed by whole group sharing of works on circle maps. She had the students reflect upon shared information, thoughts, ideas of students works when presented.

hitsets5The following questions were asked and discussed upon during debriefing. The school director said that his teachers have been using the maps. We were asked a question with regards to students engagement: Students were engaged because the lesson was conducted on Tigrigna, how are we to teach them subjects whose medium of instruction is English? We shared Thinking Maps support generation of information, organization of thought , elaboration of concepts from ones frame of reference , it doesn’t exclude English as a subject. Thinking Maps could still be used for vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and development students writing skills, and grammar.

hitsets4ALL students of the class where we did demonstration lesson know and are aware of, could name, describe the uses of ALL eight maps. The school’s students have been very successfully introduced with ALL eight maps. The school very clearly been organized efforts exerted to transfer ALL eight maps to students.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 12:44 am
May 252016
 

Semema13
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
Semema4Semema Secondary School is a school with 47 teachers, of whom 29 were at the training in October. We began the day with a professional development session in which we discussed the Principles of TSE, research basis of the use of visual tools and research outcomes of whole school implementation of Thinking Maps.

Video clip of Thinking Schools Ethiopia trainers Atsede Tsehayou, Dagim Melese and Robert Seth Price facilitating the Trainer of Trainers (ToT) who are facilitating their whole schools including the school in this posting. The training was in October 2015.

Initially we modeled Collegial Coaching where we did briefing, conducted lessons in classrooms with students, followed by a debriefing with all the Semema10participating teachers. During the briefing we shared our lesson plan, the pedagogical strategies we will be employing during the demonstration lesson, and what we want the teachers to observe. We asked them to record their observations, thoughts and questions. During the demonstration lessons, I used community building exercises with the students, modeled the use of circle map with a student, asked students to work in pairs, gave time for sharing groups works to whole group, used questioning that call for elaboration by students, citing examples by them, and clarifying concepts and consolidated a lesson.

Semema2

The goal of the demonstration lesson was for sharing strategies of Semema12transferring Thinking Maps to students by ALL teachers. Helping teachers see how powerful is working on thinking maps to organize thinking with content as tools for ensuring student engagement in class room learning. In order to show how deep, rich, detailed, panoramic the information, thoughts and ideas of students can be when supported with Thinking Maps. Semema9How effective students and students’ transfer between each other and of information can be.

As we travel towards Humera (a hot- dry location) we have seen that it will be effective if we employ strategies of collaborative learning groups to demonstrate for example that we have natural gifts of thinking in many different ways, active transfer of thinking processes to content learning is key and student cantered pedagogies are needed for improving thinking skills.

Semema1

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 12:15 pm
May 212016
 

wukiro3
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

wukiro1Wukiro Mariya Secondary School in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has 85 teachers, with 34 of them having attended the October training with Thinking Schools Ethiopia. There are two TSE Trainer of Trainers at the school. Mulugeta Nigus is the director and Ashebir Weluthe deputy director.

We started the day with community building exercises which was subsequently followed by the mini- professional development session in which we discussed and reflected on three principles of the TSE model and the research bases of the use of visual tools. We then modeled collegial coaching in which we showed how teachers in same departments learn from one another from practicing the use of the Thinking Maps in real classrooms.

wukiro10
wukiro9We showed our flow map of the lesson I facilitated on evolution in 12th Grade. I began with a community building exercise in the class room (pass, bounce, throw for a friend an imaginary basket ball in the classroom), then modeled the use of circle maps for exploring information, thoughts, ideas on evolution with a student (modeling think-pair-share). Then we had students to work in pairs , and share their works to whole group in which I used questioning that call for students elaboration of information and ideas while surfacing their own frames of references. Four students shared their works almost ALL of them shared high quality information. The students were really moving and great to collaborate with.

wukiro4In the discussion with the directors we emphasize the need carry out transferring the maps to ALL students of the schools. We suggested posting maps on walls of ALL class rooms. Integrating Thinking Maps both in annual plans and daily lesson plans. And exercising collegial coaching in each departments. The debriefing with teachers after demonstration lessons was done in the principals office with the director and deputy directors. Ato Mulugeta Nigus (the schools director) facilitated scheduling for teachers of the day, rooms for professional development and rooms for demonstration lesson in his role of leadership.

wukiro12
Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 11:40 am
May 172016
 

Dahire Hafrash1
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

Dahire Hafrash7Today’s site visit to Dahire Hafrash Secondary School is a drive from Aksum traversing small villages after driving along the sides of mountains and rugged terrain.

Dahire Hafrash is a name of the site where The People’s Liberation Front fighter summoned and conducted meetings during a time period they were seen by the Derg regime as rebels and gorilla fighters. The name initially meant a site for leaders of the oppositions summoned and consulted on major political issues later it was changed to mean a site where not leaders but the people consulted on matters that relate to change of the existing political order.

Dahire Hafrash Secondary School has 26 of whom 15 participated in previous Thinking Schools trainings in Aksum. The school has 2 Trainer of Trainers who’ve received professional development with Thinking Schools in both Wukro and Aksum.

Dahire Hafrash10

We began the professional development with community building exercises with leading the group showing alternately changing hand, body, leg patterns giving turns for participants, counting natural numbers interrupted by the word Thinking Maps said out loud in stead of naming every 5th,10th,15th,20th,25th,… Numbers. We then asked participants to reflectively think about the community building exercises (asked for observations, questions, comments which we reinforced and richly discussed). Then we Dahire Hafrash14discussed about the fundamental principles of the TSE model, brain research bases of visual tools, and research outcomes of the practices of using visual mapping.

Subsequently we modeled a collegial coaching device for conducting class room demonstration of lesson. We shared how colleagues could use the collegial coaching model to learn from one another and ever refine their practices. We discussed about observations skills while demonstration  lessons are conducted. We asked the following reflective questions ;

  1. What do we observe while being exposed to a demo. lesson?
  2. Is there such a demo. Lesson that is without defect or need for refinement?
Atsede and Dagim

Atsede and Dagim

We discussed about the above questions. Then we did a demo lesson with students of grade 9. We modeled the use of circle map to demonstrate holistic panoramic thinking about the concept of environment. We modeled the sequential process of Teacher-Student, Student-Student, whole group working in pairs and then finally whole group shared with some of the maps.

  • A student observed sharing a very rich information about the environment during which we posed several question that call for explanations and discussions of the information he provided.
  • Students shared what they have recorded inside the circle and then explained them when we asked them for further elaboration.

Dahire Hafrash4So the purpose of the demonstration lesson was to model how the transfer of Thinking Maps to students could be effected.

Making Thinking Maps languages a visual alphabet among students, and seeing students demonstrating expert uses of ALL eight maps requires the processes of introducing them, modeling before them expert uses of Thinking Maps, giving them time for processing for effecting understanding.

ethiopia-tigray-visual3Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

Dahire Hafrash2

 

 

 

 Posted by at 10:45 pm
May 162016
 

Inticho3
Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou

Inticho12This posting is to share our start of the second round of first school site visits. We collaborated with the large staff at a high school named Inticho Secondary School. We were at the school site early in the morning for a meeting with the school leader Ato Dawit T/Medihin. Ato Dawit and a teacher are the school’s Trainer of Trainers.

There are 91 teachers teaching in the high school of whom 38 teachers who had taken part in the Thinking Maps professional development training Atsede Tsehayou, Dagim Melese, and Robert Seth Price facilitated. These trainings included Trainer of Trainers professional development, followed by further trainings that had the Trainer of Trainers leading their schools.

Inticho14

The sequence of activities we did was:

  • Inticho7We did the mini-professional development sessions (discussed fundamental principles of the TSE model, brain research bases of Thinking Maps, research outcomes of the actual use of Thinking Maps and other pedagogical tools and strategies). There were two mini-professional development sessions: one in the morning and a second mini-professional development training for teachers in the afternoon so all teachers could participate.
  • We did classroom demonstration lessons (demo of how Thinking Maps are transferred to students; use of circle map to brainstorm information, and modeling ideas about plants with the teacher and student, then student and student and then whole groups).

Inticho2

Inticho13Teachers in Amharic department of the school for examples have been trying to construct maps of contents in syllabi the different grade levels they teach and discussing about the precision of the use of the maps (see the Interview with Teacher Saba Beyene, a female Amharic teacher).

Atsede did also interview two other teachers of the school. She will be sharing of her interview questions and responses recorded.

Teacher Saba Beyene

Atsede: How did you use Thinking Maps in your subject?

Saba: We often use them in literature. My students use them for narrating a story (they use the Flow Map). We also show them using Double Bubble maps for comparing and contrasting different kinds of writing /literature.

Inticho1I usually use the Bridge Map for vocabulary development. For example opposite words: tall is the opposite of short as fat is the opposite of thin as big is the opposite of small as light is the opposite of dark (translation is mine). And opposite sexes of animals ox is a male cattle as cow is its female counter part as …. (translation is mine).

Teacher Saba also asked me a question about the correct use of brace map to which I replied: brace maps is meant for seeing whole-parts relationship of physical objects that is how it is different from tree maps which is used with the categorization abstract concepts.

Teacher Saba is working on writing a book that essentially uses Thinking Maps for illustration of decoding the patterns of thoughts in the linear text structures the constitute the notes under different categories of contents.

Inticho4During our conversations with Teacher Saba (an Amharic teacher at the school), we were informed that the teachers at the school purposefully chose a class ( a laboratory class ) where all of the teachers implement Thinking Maps working with the students. Teacher Saba mentioned that the students were introduced with Thinking Maps and were supported by their teachers in their exercises of the use of the maps with contents . It is remembered that teacher Saba is preparing a book where Thinking Maps are used essentially to decode the thought processes embedded in the linear texts making up content knowledge of the chapters a syllabi incorporates.

Thinking Schools EthiopiaInticho8 – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools

Inticho9Inticho6

 Posted by at 3:47 pm
Apr 182016
 

whole-classThinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
school
We asked for what the school name Goha, and we were informed that Goha means illumination from rising sun. Goha-Got is isolated and remotely located primary school. Walking from the school to Adigrat (one of the towns of the Tigray region like Wukro, Aksum , Shire) takes 3-4 hours. It is extremely important again to note that one of the intelligent girls of the primary school who is representing the school for questions and answers competition in the Wereda had to walk to Adigirat to take part in the competition (this girl was the same girl who was very active in Atsedes demonstration lesson on a topic which is a reading comprehension in Tigrigna language education.

outside-students2

It is important to consider it is very difficult to have regular site visits done to Goha-Got Elementary School owing to the fact that the school is very isolated and remote. We drove ascending a giant mountain road twisting here and there on a pavement that is being strengthened by road construction workers. The journey up the mountain side was frightening and risky. Atsede noted about how frightening it was to ascend the twisting roads with a very high detour and the descending it on the other side of the giant mountain we traversed. Finally we reached the school after inquiring about it’s location multiple times.

We met the director and shared what we were there for and how the site visit is going to look like. We learned that there are a total of 20 teachers at the school and 9 teachers who were trained by the three of us (Atsede, Dagim and Robert) in Wukro. There is one ToT trainer from the school.

classroom-demo

As usual we did a mini-professional development training in which we discussed The Fundamental Principles of the Thinking Schools Model and Research Basis of the Use of Visual Tools. Atsede then shared how she is going to do a demonstration lesson with 7th graders on a passage about the lives of neighbors who earn the same level of income but different life style with implications for the relative failure and success in terms of leading a happy life. The goal of the lesson being planning our lives, using resources wisely, saving.

teacherstudentclass

students3Atsede also shared what she wants the teachers to observe (student’s engagement,
student’s writing of their own thoughts, examples, explanations), students collaborative work, and strategy of transferring Thinking Maps to all students through her modeling with students. She also shared that if the teachers have questions they need to write them in their notepads during the lesson and raise them during debriefing discussions after the lesson.

exercisebookShe followed the same pattern while doing the demonstration lesson (community building, modeling use of a Circle Map (brainstorming) with a student, having students work in pairs, then small groups and share later with the whole class where information was enriched, ideas were consolidated, concepts were further clarified.

She then modeled the use of Double Bubble map (compare and contrast). She used it with students and gave students a home work to complete the Bubble Maps between characters in the passage. Atsede then introduced all eight Thinking Maps for the students while teachers observing in the classroom. During the debriefing session teachers reported how supportive using Thinking Maps are.

students4

Key Reflections and what we learned at Goha-Got which we will put to use for further refining the quality of upcoming site visits.

  • It is very important that teachers understand how Thinking Maps support students thinking with content (what are teachers in the demonstration class for?), what are they looking for in the demonstration class?). Teachers would have, in most cases, been seen sitting on desks of the demonstration lesson classes, but are now learning how to walk around and help students construct the maps (change from teacher centered to student centered as directed by the Ministry of Education for quality education). We asked the teachers to walk around in the class to see what students have written, how rich are ideas generated, thoughts organized.
  • How can we help teachers understand that students must practice regularly to clearly see what we say about the changes / results the use of Thinking Maps help bring about.

There seems to be lethargy in terms seeing and valuing how processes are as much important as the outcomes we desire to materialize. And we believe this is the same everywhere.outside-students

Other notes :

  • There was a Woreda supervisor at the school who took part in the training.
  • Students were evaluating their teachers when we arrived at the school. Students evaluation of their teachers makes up 15% of the overall teachers evaluation.
  • We we returned back to Adigirat we drove along a different path which was on a plain surface, less risky and frightening.
  • We were presented with some cabbages from the school garden as they were appreciative of our being there at the school for collaboration with the professional development.

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 Posted by at 11:31 pm
Mar 142016
 
Samire elementary 12 - 1

Samire elementary 12 - 1

Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
Samire elementary 20 - 1

The site visit today was paid to Samire and Getet Elementary Schools. Both of these elementary schools are located farther away from the secondary school we visited yesterday. These schools are remote and isolated. And the message here is that frequent follow up of these schools is very difficult given their location away from Mekele and the nature of the road that leads to them.

Samire elementary 19 - 1

There are 31 teachers teaching in Samire elementary school of whom 12 took the two days Samire elementary 9 - 1training on thinking maps in Wukiro last October. There is 1 ToT trainer who is at the same time the schools director whose name is Yisak. Robert easily remembers Yisak who was very active leading community building exercises in Wukiro. [Robert – ‘Yisak was very active with his team as a ToT and equally at ease working with the whole group of 400 teachers in the training. He is an example of the talent amongst the ToT’s that can become the leaders of expanding to schools throughout the region, and country.’]. His school is one of the leading schools in terms of implementing Thinking Maps and actually using Thinking Maps.

Samire elementary 13 - 1

The other school was Getet Primary School. Getet Primary School had its director took part in the two day thinking maps training in Wukiro. But later was transferred to a different school. Currently there is an acting director. Her name is Etsayi. There are 38 teachers in the school of whom 13 were trained in Wukiro.


Samire elementary 2 - 1Samire elementary 7 - 1Samire elementary 8 - 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Samire school Atsede did:

  • Samire elementary 10 - 1community building;
  • modeled the use of Circle Maps with a content being environmental problems;
  • modeled the use of Multi-Flow map to examine cause – effect relationships of the environmental problems;
  • Students were asked intermittently to work in pairs and groups on both Circle Map and Multi-Flow maps and share their works to whole group in which information was enriched;
  • concepts were clarified, thoughts were supported with citations of examples;
  • Then students were given homework.

Samire elementary 4 - 1 Samire elementary 5 - 1
Samire elementary 16 - 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We began the training with a mini professional development as usual in which reviewed the thinking schools model and discussed the research basis of use of visual tools, followed by the collegial coaching model to do the demonstration lessons. During the Debriefing session teachers reported that they have seen how they could actually use the maps with content in their class rooms.

getet elementary 5 - 1

getet elementary 4 - 1At Getet site, Atsede modeled the use of bridge map for seeing analogical relationships of different lines in geometry. The lesson is about a circle and its dimensions (chord, diameter, tangent, radius). The model of Bridge Maps Atsede used with a student is such that a chord is drawn on the upper side of the bridge and its name and definition put in the lower side, as diameter is pictorially represented with its definition in the lower side as radius above and its definition below (see photo of this analogy).

She modeled the use of Double Bubble Maps to compare and contrast a chord and a diameter which the students were later asked to work on their own in pairs and groups. Final students were given chances to present their works before the class. Information and concepts were consolidated.

getet elementary 7 - 1getet elementary 9 - 1getet elementary 11 - 1

 

 

 

 

 

Ataede then introduced each of the eight thinking maps to all students in both cases modeling for the teachers how they could introduce the maps for their students .

getet elementary 2 - 1

  • One important note is that trained teachers at Samire Elementary School have transferred their trainings or Thinking Maps to other teachers and have prepared handouts of Thinking Maps which they have shown.
  • The school director of Getet primary school was assigned to other school he was one of the ToT trainers. We would like to emphasis the fact that the remoteness and isolated locations of the school coupled with road quality may hamper frequent follow up and support for the schools.

getet elementary 13 - 1

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

getet elementary 1 - 1

 Posted by at 1:57 pm
Mar 132016
 
school 27 12 - 1

I wish I could go to the Ethiopian schools and learn what they learn and see their beautiful country. Qiana

It was great we learned everything we know now from you. The shiro was delicious. Thumbs up for you dude. Idris

school 27 12 - 1

Third Grade • Indianapolis, Indiana, USA • Indianapolis Public Schools • School CFI 27

My son Ashenafi’s 3rd grade class is studying about classrooms and schools
in other places globally. His school is The Center for Inquiry—School 27 which is in the Indianapolis Public School system in Indiana, United States. school 27 4 - 1My son’s teacher invited me to come into his classroom  and share about Ethiopia and Ethiopian schools since I’ve traveled to Ethiopia often to collaborate with schools, and my children were born in Ethiopia. The neighboring 3rd grade classroom also joined us. I decided the best manner of having a sense of schools in Ethiopia was conducting a class, Ethiopian styled. It was my goal for the students to appreciate  children everywhere are curious learners with as much to learn and share as all childrenglobally. And about teachers in Ethiopia who are professional educators in one of the world’s oldest countries. And some history for  students to better know about Ethiopia on their journey of learning and discovery. The one hour classroom included:

  • school 27 7 - 1having the students in small groups with one student leading each group;
  • wearing a white lab coat as I,  the teacher, was facilitating a math lesson with each group having a 100 Birr note (Ethiopian money) and having to determine its’ value in US Dollars knowing the
    conversion rate of 20-1;
  • learning about (briefly) Aksum and the Kingdom of Aksumite with students posing questions and copying information into their exercise books;
  • making a soccer ball (futbol) out of paper and tape to model being resourceful which they used during recess later in the day;
  • sharing photos from Ethiopian schools from my trips to Ethiopia collaborating with my Ethiopian colleagues Atsede and Dagim in schools there, including a photo of historic Aksum.

school 27 1 - 1

Thank you for the wonderful experience. I liked the injera a lot. Xavier (3rd grade student)

school 27 17 - 1I think Ethiopia is so cool! I want to go their myself. Eleanor (3rd grade student)

The food was awesome. Lucy (3rd grade student)

Thank you for letting us make those newspaper and tape soccer [futbol] balls. Brianna (3rd grade student)

Thank you for the shiro and did you know I loved the food you gave me and my friends. Not all my friends liked it, but mostly they did. You are a great teacher. Tania (3rd grade student)

school 27 20 - 1I loved the shiro and injera. Thank you for spending your time to make it for us. Jalen (3rd grade student)

Please come back to share with the next 3rd grade. Devah (3rd grade student)

Thank you for showing me how people in Ethiopia are and thank you for the food. It was hot and it was interesting. Israel (3rd grade student)

school 27 19 - 1

I think your cooking is awesome and I LOVED the shiro and injera. I ate ‘til Ashu (my son) and Angel ate the rest up. Karis (3rd grade student)
Thank you for the food. Thank you for teaching us how to do stuff in Ethiopia. Jada (3rd grade student)

school 27 16 - 1Thank you for Dad for bringing in shiro and injera from Ethiopia for the class. Ashenafi (3rd grade student)
Thank you Mr. Price for the shiro and injera and the math problem. Devin (3rd grade student)

Thank you so much for teaching the class about Ethiopia. You went so far above and they loved it. Thank you! Cindi Hamlow (3rd grade teacher)

I wish I could go to the Ethiopian schools and learn what they learn and see their beautiful country. Qiana (3rd grade student)

It was great we learned everything we know now from you. The shiro was delicious. Thumbs up for you dude. Idris (3rd grade student)

school 27 5 - 1

 Posted by at 7:48 pm
Mar 122016
 

Hayikmesay Elementary School17

Hayikmesay Elementary School
Tigray, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou
Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese
Hayikmesay Elementary School8 - 1
We continued our site visits today with an elementary school called Hayikmesay. There are 35 teachers teaching in the school of whom 14 were trained in Thinking Schools Ethiopia methodologies with a focus on Thinking Maps. There is a ToT trainer from the school. The ToT trainer in this case is a teacher himself. We had a meeting with the schools deputy director in which we explained why we were at the school, sharing the flow map (sequence map) of what the day is going to look like.

Hayikmesay Elementary School3 - 1

Hayikmesay Elementary School10 - 1We did mini Professional Development training with the teachers. Then class room demonstration of lesson . The class room demonstration followed the pattern: community building, modeling use of circle map, then modeling use of multi-flow map, intermittently having students work in pairs then in groups and while group discussion and finally giving students home work. In the end Atsede introduced the students to all 8 maps, their hand symbols and the cognitive processes they represent modeling for teachers including how they could introduce their students all the eight maps.

Hayikmesay Elementary School9 - 1

Hayikmesay Elementary School5 - 1One challenge we have seen of teachers relates to what data with respect to outcomes are we in the demonstration lesson class to attend to, observe and reflect on? The outcomes of use of thinking maps are directly accessible to the observer, we believe, if the observer knows what to look for. Students generate information, surface their thoughts, clarify and exemplify then in the frame of references, explain how they are seeing the content they are interacting with… The fact of students engaging with a content not easily seen by most teachers in demo-lessons.

Hayikmesay Elementary School14 - 1

Something we learned today which we will use next time for refinement of upcoming trainings /site visits:

  1. Hayikmesay Elementary School16 - 1We do community building exercises and teachers feel relaxed, attain more energies for attending to discussions, energies for participation in the form of sharing thoughts but this often not thought as being explained in terms of the community exercises we do. We believe this is extremely important for physically supporting the learning brain. So we will consolidate upon observations about the values of community building exercises.
  1. Emphasis on modeling the use of frames of references we believe will support adequate understanding of thinking maps and how they are used in upcoming site visits. A fundamental challenge we believe still exists with regard to what to look for as outcomes of the intervention include the presumptive certainty, as part of the mental models of most teachers, I observed that an intervention (thinking schools model) should address and bring about the desired changes with respect to intelligences, competencies, skills and attitudes of a learner in all academic disciplines here and now.

Hayikmesay Elementary School4 - 1

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 4:14 pm
Mar 052016
 
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Students using a Bridge Map for showing relationships as part of a classroom lesson at Almaz Alemu Elementary School.

Almaz Alemu Elementary School
Tigray, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou
Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese
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One of site visits in Maychew was paid to a school called Almaz Alemu (after a heroine in Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front’s (TPLF) fight against the Derg regime). The school is presently led by a young woman named  Atsede.  We have seen girls parliament at the school . The parliament works for girls needs, rights, support, and acquiring of leadership skills.

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Students and educators showing the hand symbol for a Tree Map which is for categorizing.

We did a mini professional development in which we reviewed the TSE model, briefly explained the research basis of use of visual tools and did collegial coaching and demonstration lessons .

The demo lesson was about electric current and resistance. Atsede (a TSE trainer worked with a physics teacher to do the demo lesson).

Atsede first modeled the use of circle map with a student to generate a wide range of information about electric current, conductors, and resistance. Then asked students to work pairs sharing information and ideas about electricity which was followed by groups sharing about their circle map on the content.

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Tree Map for categorizing.

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Subsequently Atsede drew a Bridge Map for thinking about relationships with types of circuits and resistance levels. The bridge map was incomplete it was meant to be completed by students. Then students tried completing it by taking turns writing on the black board.

Students were then given assignment to complete the bridge map in their exercise books. Teachers were observing what was happening taking notes, and writing questions as part of the Collegial Coaching model.

During the debriefing session teachers shared that the demo lesson has shown the potential use of the Thinking Maps for content areas which would otherwise have been seen simply unfit for mapping .

Teachers reported that they are now encouraged to start using the maps in their classes. They said they have seen high levels of students engagement, collaboration, motivation to learn, and also recognize that students have much prior knowledge to contribute to learning.

12784627_1027054067368696_835371300_n

Atsede modeling a community building exercise with students at Almaz Alemu Elementary School, which is a key part of the TSE model.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with maychewfunding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

Maychew
, also Maichew (Ge’ez: ማይጨው), is a town and woreda in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia. It is located at 665 km north of Addis Ababaalong Ethiopian Highway 1 which runs to Mekelle (the capital city of Tigray region) with an altitude of 2479 m. According to Ethiopia’s agro-ecological setting, Maychew and its environs are classified under the Weinadega (semi-temperate zone).

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Almaz Alemu educators modeling the hand symbol for the Double Bubble Thinking Map used for comparing and contrasting.

 

 Posted by at 7:14 pm
Mar 042016
 
12822194_1025801874160582_1872004536_n

Millennium Secondary School in Korem, Tigray, Ethiopia. Tigray is in Northern Ethiopia.

korem-mapMillennium Secondary School 
By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou
Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese
Millennium Secondary School is remote and isolated from the town (Korem is the name of the town – see photos below including of Lake Ashenga in Korem). We travelled to the school driving a road twisting now and then (a very high detour) down a very high relief (an extremely rugged terrain along a steep side of a mountain and valley zig-zagging uplands and lowlands. In the end we reached the very isolated and remote school in a very small village (easily counting the number of households).

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Students and teachers at Millennium Secondary School.

The total number of teachers working at the school are 22 of whom 11 of them were trained previously. We were told that 3 of the trained teachers were transferred . So the number of teachers who are trained remains 8.

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

12804263_1025800967494006_243470471_n

Students using Thinking Maps at Millennium Secondary School.

The day began with a mini professional development training including a review of the Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) model, thinking maps, research basis of use of visual tools and principles of TSE model.

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Students using Thinking Maps at Millennium Secondary School.

Collegial Coaching – Demonstration Lesson with Students

Atsede Tsehayou, Thinking Schools Ethiopia co-lead trainer at Lake Ashenga in Korem.

Atsede Tsehayou, Thinking Schools Ethiopia co-lead trainer at Lake Ashenga in Korem.

We modeled the collegial coaching model, where teachers observe a teacher doing a demonstration lesson. For the modeling the TSE trainers did a demonstration lesson. It begins with a briefing of the lesson, then doing the demonstration lesson, followed by a debriefing with the teachers.

Collegial Coaching:  Briefing
At the briefing we shared a lesson about microorganisms (Biology for Grade 9 lesson in the week), shared how to introduce the Circle Map, Double Bubble Maps with the content and how I would model think-pair-share (teacher-student; student-student; whole class), brief sharing of two examples of group works, proceeded with modeling using a Double Bubble Map to compare and contrast (useful verses harmful micro organisms).

Collegial Coaching:  Demonstration Lesson

Dagim Melese, Thinking Schools Ethiopia co-lead trainer.

Dagim Melese, Thinking Schools Ethiopia co-lead trainer at Lake Ashenga in Korem.

We then did a demonstration lesson with the students with the teachers observing. The teachers take notes on positive observations and questions they have from their observations of the demonstration lesson.

Collegial Coaching:  Debriefing
After the lesson everyone observing and participating was part of the the debriefing. At the debriefing:

  • It was agreed about the need to introduce the Thinking Maps to students .
  • Teachers were ready to start using Thinking Maps flexibly first then more regularly.
  • Questions: How do we manage time?
    “once thinking maps become language among all the students. The degree of automaticity with which they construct maps gets higher lessening the time it takes to facilitate group work.”We asked what time does it take you to tie your shoelaces? how difficult is driving for an experienced driver? Once we learn how to use them, we do it fast.So the key is to experiment using them in our class room. In time we will develop expertise in using the maps .
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Students using Thinking Maps at Millennium Secondary School.

Comments from the Millennium Secondary School educators:

  • 12825357_1025801730827263_1944083183_n“We will appreciate your on going support. Please come visit us often.”
  • “We would welcome more demo lessons.”
  • What did we see today? What is something we learned today which we will use to refine site visits to come?

 

Students of grade 9 enter secondary schools after having spent 8 years of their academic life learning subjects in Tigirigna and English as a subject on which they usefully perform poorly. This is true of other schools in other regions too.

 

Now, the biology lesson on Microorganisms is written on English and teachers are supposed to teach in English. I started teaching it in English but it prevented students from actively taking part in the discussions and participation. A student writing in a circle maps with me clearly exhibited this problem.

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The question is:
How do all the educators understand prior knowledge that the knowledge she/he has about microorganism is still a stock of knowledge – prior knowledge – even when it is communicated in Tigirigna? This is where the Thinking Maps need to be seen as a thinking and language bridge.

Students have the knowledge, but simply because they are not able to share in a different languages or communicate with other languages they fail to precisely respond to exam questions written in English hence, score less on exam, and assessed as low achievers. This needs to be internalized and understood by educators to then best support the students.

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Korem, Tigray, Ethiopia.

 Posted by at 12:52 pm
Mar 032016
 
Students modeling the hand symbol representing the cognitive process of compare and contrast for a Double Bubble Map.

Students modeling the hand symbol representing the cognitive process of compare and contrast for a Double Bubble Map.

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Teachers participating in the school site professional development actively involved with students on their learning and implementation of Thinking Maps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zelalem Desta Elementary School
By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou
Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese
Zelalem Desta Elementary School is a long established school that was built in the Ethiopian Calendar year of 1947 (1954 Gregorian Calendar). There are 27 teachers teaching in the school . We were informed that due to lack of trained teachers the school had to call back retired teachers to work in the vacant capacities .

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Of the 27 educators of the school approximately half of them took part in the two days Thinking Maps training held in October. There is only 1 Trainer of Trainer from the school who is at the same time the schools director. In October the Trainer of Trainers received an additional 4 days of Thinking Schools Ethiopia training including Thinking Maps, Community Building, Inquiry and Leadership skills.

student-exercise-book

We followed site visit procedures which includes mini professional development sessions, collegial coaching, classroom demonstration lessons which include teacher briefing and debriefing .


Play the video above of a student and Thinking Schools Ethiopia co-lead Country Trainer modeling the Circle Map (Thinking Maps) to students and many observing teachers.

The site visit included:

  • Lessons with the subject teachers while other teachers observing what is happening
  • introducing students with all eight Thinking Maps with their hand symbols and the cognitive processes they represent
  • Lessons were done with a content from a subject teachers would think difficult to use thinking maps to explore, analyze, compute, and discuss on and about.
  • We also were convinced that doing demo lessons with subject teachers collaborating with us is helpful to encourage them use maps in real classrooms .
  • A key observation was seeing Thinking Maps posted on walls of all classrooms which models the interest in whole school implementation by the Trainer of Trainer and school leader.

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Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 Posted by at 8:07 pm
Mar 032016
 

menkere-zata5

 

Menkere and Zata Primary Schools
By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou
Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese

menkere-zata2Our site visits continued with Menkere and Zata primary schools along with my co-country Thinking Schools Ethiopia trainer Atsede Tsehayou. A total number of 28 teachers teach at Menkere Primary School with a focus on the continual training of the use of Thinking Maps in the classrooms. We saw the need to do a brief professional development training for the educators. Brief review of the principles of the Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) model was followed by discussion on research basis of Visual Tools (Thinking Maps). Atsede modelled collegial coaching with the teachers. This model has teachers observing a short lesson by a peer teacher. They observe positive aspects of the lesson and also write down questions to share at the debriefing. Atsede shared the plan of her demo lesson (sequence of the lesson). She followed the briefing by doing her demo lesson before all the educators. She then facilitated a debriefing after the demo lesson where teachers shared their positive observations and questions.

menkere-zata6
Key Points and Outcomes 
menkere-zata16Key points that constituted shared understanding we all reached at the end of the day were:

  • The urgency with which Thinking Maps need to be transferred to students.
    —post them on walls
    —model using them in the class room
  • Facilitate conditions  for students so as to support them using Thinking Maps creatively in their classroom assignments, home works, and with projects.
  • Share best practices amongst one another
  • learn from each other experimenting demo lessons and refining practices .

menkere-zata3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thinking Schools Ethiopia project in Tigray is a collaboration with Tigray Development Association (TDA) and Thinking Foundation supported by funding administered by Initiative Africa and granted by Sida (Swedish Development Agency). Read more at the Tigray Development Association website, Initiative Africa website and Thinking Foundation website.

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Reflections 
menkere-zata10From this training I was able to gain knowledge on how to enhance student participation, how to encourage critical thinking. I am inspired to make more effort after I went to my school. However I beg you to continue such trainings.
Haftom Zenebe – primary school teacher

It was very helpful training where I have been able to gain new perspective of what thinking is and how to encourage it. I believe this should continually happen.
Meresiet –  primary school teacher

Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

 

 Posted by at 6:44 pm
Feb 282016
 

hayelom_testimonial“…before the refreshment school site visit training and class demonstration lesson we did in two of the real classrooms of our school, I thought that Thinking Maps were only selectively used with some contents but now I realize the fact that thinking maps can be used with all kinds of contents…”
Hayelom Elementary School Teacher at the most recent school site professional development

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By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou
Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese
12782483_1022238947850208_1998311973_nHayelom Elementary School was paid a site visit by Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) trainers. The site visits was aimed to support whole school implantation of thinking maps for facilitating students thinking and learning in all the subjects taught . The site visit began with professional development (morning session in which the TSE model was reviewed and a refreshment training on thinking maps was conducted).

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TSE trainers appreciated and were encouraged by the collaborative spirits, the level of seriousness and purposefulness with which the teachers were engaged, and their reflectiveness and feedback on the training.

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Hayelom Elementary School is one of the 37 laboratory schools TSE is providing support for. The teachers have been using the maps and now intensifying its use in class rooms with flexibility and creativity for sharing experience of model of excellence with the other schools in the project.

Below are the pictures taken during the site visit at the school;

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Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

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 Posted by at 2:33 pm
Feb 252016
 

andishduhun elenmetary school33 By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou
Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese

Thinking Schools Ethiopia—Thinking Schools Tigray
began a third phase with ongoing scaffolding support for whole school systematic implementation of Thinking Schools pedagogy including Thinking Maps across all disciplines and at all grade levels. Thinking Schools Ethiopia – Tigray is a collaboration of Tigray Development Association and Thinking Foundation for 37 model schools in 12 Woredas located in all  7 zonal administrations with funding administered by Initiative Africa for a Girl’s Empowerment Whole School Change grant from Sida (Swedish Development Agency) that began as a grass roots project by Robert Seth Price along with lead country trainers Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese. Read the chapter on Ethiopia in the Corwin Press book Pathways to Thinking Schools.

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Kalamino Special High School
Kalamino special high school13The scaffolding support began being provided to Kalamino Special High school located in the regional capital – Mekelle.  On site school support includes collegial coaching, brief  refreshment / reinforcement training and class room demonstration of lessons modeling the actual use of Thinking Maps in real class rooms with students employing other interrelated pedagogical techniques and tools. Thinking Schools Ethiopia (TSE) trainers (Atsede and Dagim) began on Feb. 22, 2016 working with the educators of Kalamino High School for strengthening the whole school implementation of the maps and documentation of impacts on such dependent variables as student engagement, levels of independent learning skills, literacy and communication skills and others.

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The on site schools support is believed to motivate and encourage intensive class room use of Thinking Maps and support better practices of student centred techniques / methods . Following are photos taken of the site supports.Kalamino special high school18

Andishumdihun Elementary School 
andishduhun elenmetary school4Site visit at Andishumdihun elementary school encouraged the school leader to employ a more systematic implementation of thinking maps by having them posted on walls of all class rooms for students to learn and get to know them . Some vibrant teachers at the school were part of the demonstration lesson done in a physics class room . Taking a lead in terms of modelling the actual use of the maps in class rooms for supporting student centred learning . Below are some of the still pictures taken of the site visit.

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 Posted by at 11:48 am