By Bereket Aweke
Read the Bikolos PDF file of students, teachers, school director reflections
As the school owner and managing director of Bikolos Nur Academy in Addis Ababa, I am always interested in giving quality education for the children and youth, so I was always looking for a way to guide us to quality education. Our school motto is”we teach how to learn”, so, for us the Thinking Schools approach, especially the thinking maps and the other starting points are our guides to meet our vision. I heard about thinking school from a friend about one year back. When I heard the name “Thinking Schools” I was excited because that is the important aspect of learning, Thinking! Then I met Mr.Bereket from Thinking Schools Ethiopia and we discussed about it back and forth several times. I also checked the website and read some articles about it. The more I read about thinking schools, the more I got interested. The first time I took the training was through our school network with around 15 other schools. By then, I was convinced and believed this is the way to quality education.
After the training, immediately, I introduced Thinking schools to my school. Now, it is a month since its introduction and within this time I have seen a big change. The students are starting to think clearly and improved creativity as well as creating their own way of thinking and simplifying things.
For the teachers, the maps helped in simplifying lessons and able them to teach the students how to learn, as our motto promotes.
When I start the school seven years back we wanted to teach kids how to learn and make them lifelong learners, but we didn’t have or know the way. We know that the lessons should be student centered and active but we didn’t know the tools to do that. But after introducing Thinking Maps as part of the Thinking Schools Ethiopia approach, I can say we are teaching how to learn.
I also use the maps on my weekly meetings for example, we are using the maps to organize a students’ carnival the coming Sunday. On top of that I found the maps useful and practical in my daily activities. I am certain Thinking Maps and other Thinking Schools methods can be applied in many areas.
I have also observed after the training teachers were reflective and discussing about the maps, how they used them and the challenges they faced. This has improved interdepartmental relations and collaboration among teachers and student. We are also planning to train parents to create even a better collaboration.
Our journey has started and I am sure after go through the way, Thinking Schools Ethiopia will help us meet our mission and vision. I think this approach is the best thing for us and I believe that other schools can benefit from it but it needs dedication from leaders and school directors.