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.
There are 31 teachers teaching in Samire elementary school of whom 12 took the two days training 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.
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.
At Samire school Atsede did:
- community 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.
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.
At 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.
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 .
- 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.
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.