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 .
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.
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.
Menkere and Zata Primary Schools By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese
Our 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.
Key Points and Outcomes
Key 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 .
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.
Reflections From 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