Hayikmesay Elementary School
By Dagim Melese and Atsede Teshayou
Photos and Video by Atsede Tsehayou and Dagim Melese
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.
We 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.
One 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.
Something we learned today which we will use next time for refinement of upcoming trainings /site visits:
- We 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.
- 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.
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.