Thinking Schools Tigrai, Ethiopia
By Dagim Melese & Atsede Teshayou
Semema Secondary School is a school with 47 teachers, of whom 29 were at the training in October. We began the day with a professional development session in which we discussed the Principles of TSE, research basis of the use of visual tools and research outcomes of whole school implementation of Thinking Maps.
Video clip of Thinking Schools Ethiopia trainers Atsede Tsehayou, Dagim Melese and Robert Seth Price facilitating the Trainer of Trainers (ToT) who are facilitating their whole schools including the school in this posting. The training was in October 2015.
Initially we modeled Collegial Coaching where we did briefing, conducted lessons in classrooms with students, followed by a debriefing with all the participating teachers. During the briefing we shared our lesson plan, the pedagogical strategies we will be employing during the demonstration lesson, and what we want the teachers to observe. We asked them to record their observations, thoughts and questions. During the demonstration lessons, I used community building exercises with the students, modeled the use of circle map with a student, asked students to work in pairs, gave time for sharing groups works to whole group, used questioning that call for elaboration by students, citing examples by them, and clarifying concepts and consolidated a lesson.
The goal of the demonstration lesson was for sharing strategies of transferring Thinking Maps to students by ALL teachers. Helping teachers see how powerful is working on thinking maps to organize thinking with content as tools for ensuring student engagement in class room learning. In order to show how deep, rich, detailed, panoramic the information, thoughts and ideas of students can be when supported with Thinking Maps. How effective students and students’ transfer between each other and of information can be.
As we travel towards Humera (a hot- dry location) we have seen that it will be effective if we employ strategies of collaborative learning groups to demonstrate for example that we have natural gifts of thinking in many different ways, active transfer of thinking processes to content learning is key and student cantered pedagogies are needed for improving thinking skills.
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.