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.

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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
 
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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.

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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