Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
Wukiro Mariya Secondary School in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has 85 teachers, with 34 of them having attended the October training with Thinking Schools Ethiopia. There are two TSE Trainer of Trainers at the school. Mulugeta Nigus is the director and Ashebir Weluthe deputy director.
We started the day with community building exercises which was subsequently followed by the mini- professional development session in which we discussed and reflected on three principles of the TSE model and the research bases of the use of visual tools. We then modeled collegial coaching in which we showed how teachers in same departments learn from one another from practicing the use of the Thinking Maps in real classrooms.
We showed our flow map of the lesson I facilitated on evolution in 12th Grade. I began with a community building exercise in the class room (pass, bounce, throw for a friend an imaginary basket ball in the classroom), then modeled the use of circle maps for exploring information, thoughts, ideas on evolution with a student (modeling think-pair-share). Then we had students to work in pairs , and share their works to whole group in which I used questioning that call for students elaboration of information and ideas while surfacing their own frames of references. Four students shared their works almost ALL of them shared high quality information. The students were really moving and great to collaborate with.
In the discussion with the directors we emphasize the need carry out transferring the maps to ALL students of the schools. We suggested posting maps on walls of ALL class rooms. Integrating Thinking Maps both in annual plans and daily lesson plans. And exercising collegial coaching in each departments. The debriefing with teachers after demonstration lessons was done in the principals office with the director and deputy directors. Ato Mulugeta Nigus (the schools director) facilitated scheduling for teachers of the day, rooms for professional development and rooms for demonstration lesson in his role of leadership.
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.