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