United

This was the week when some american bloke took over Manchester United, United Airlines decided to default on pension contributiuons and Bush nominates an unpopular conservative to be ambassador to the United Nations.

Must be Friday 13th, or something.

Meanwhile, in Tala, the new IT teacher reported for interview this Tuesday and started working the next day. I’ve been more busy than usual with other duties including teaching on the Cisco programme (which I am still doing), teaching IT to one of the sisters (who wants to start the Cisco programme but currently has no IT background knowledge), helping out in labs and running classes in Unix and HTML for the staff.

Oh, and did I happen to mention that my VSO mid-service review was on wednesday?

One of the nicest things this week was an informal class with the new Stage 1 students. My colleague suggested this in response to the seed of an idea that I planted with her several months ago. We want to give our students some practise at the kinds of skills they’ll need in the classroom for the rest of their education, and in the rest of their lives. We met with them in the dining room, with the chairs arranged in a circle (not the usual classroom lines) and we each told stories. The rules were that each person had to speak for at least one minute and at most five minutes. If they finished early I made them fill in with anything: screaming, babbling or whatever. It was fun and, since most stories were rather short, we finished within an hour and went on our way.

I have asked the students to come next week with small objects and be prepared to tell the story of that object. The plan is to slowly increase the challenge (I can’t give too much away here as the students can read this blog, welcome students!) week by week but keeping it fun. This way they get a chance to know their own ability to meet challenges and, **hopefully** they will have more confidence in class. If not, we will have had fun telling stories. 😀

10 Comments

  1. Lydia Says:

    You are utterly fab – putting emotional literacy on the syllabus! 😀

  2. Mark Says:

    Is that what it’s called, emotional litteracy?
    Whatever, I think that in the African continent where, we are told, stories are very important and there is a strong oral tradition, something has gone awry with the education system where verbatim recitation and dictation seem to have taken the life out of storytelling.

    I thikn teaching should be a kind of story telling. Any comments?

  3. Chris Says:

    Story-telling used to be a strong oral tradition *EVERYWHERE*!

    Since recorded media came along its definitely a dying art (orally), although of course now we can use the recorded media for our storytelling as well.

    Interestingly though, "narrative" is quite a buzz-concept in design circles, e.g. using storyboarding, scenario-based design, even use-cases… it’s all story-telling really.

    And what about the rise of blogging – doesn’t that say something about people’s urges to tell their own stories?

    OK, have to go to bed – almost gone blind from marking and looking at a spreadheet all day… :hehe:

  4. Tissue Says:

    Once breeders have marked a trait, they use traditional breeding tactics like tissue culturing – growing a snip of plant in a nutrient-rich medium until it’s

  5. veronica Says:

    i think that was a very good adea,students are able to express themselves.they are in a position of gaining some confidence therefore making it easy to participate in class.Remember most students never participate in class because of the fear they have towards others,they think that if they talk they will be laughed at,simply because they are not sure whether there english is corect or not,by story telling i think most students are going to learn from there colegues.Well done Mr. Mark.I wish this idea was there before it could have helped many.

  6. Mark Says:

    We only did it once. There were several other nice games:
    We all (including Mrs Pauline and I) built towers out of Daily Nation newspapers,
    We played ‘call my bluff’ (has another name in Kenya as its used on a national radio show but I Cant remember what it is)
    We constructed rubber-band powered vehicles out of discarded waste
    At the end we played a game I found on the internet which is designed to make everyone shout and scream as much as possible, it had the desired effect.

    But talking to Mrs Pauline yesterday I heard her say that the class with whom we tried those exercises is still as shy and quiet as any of them. 🙁

  7. veronica Says:

    If you have tried to impliment all that and yet they are not showing up any change then i think they are not serious with what they are doing over there.i think they are ignorant,that is the term.

  8. Mark Says:

    Veronica,
    You can’t make that conclusion! Maybe the techniques we have tried don’t have a lasting effect. From our small experiment it would be foolish and unfair to draw a conclusion that anyone is ignorant other than ourselves. All we can say is that we have tried.

    By the way, Mr Kioko has explained how come you have enough ‘free’ Internet time to sit and read my blog every day! Maybe I’ll pass by that Cybercafe before I leave Kenya, so watch out!

  9. veronica Says:

    infact i will be very happy to see you.You are very much welcome anytime..

  10. Mark Says:

    Well, I tried! Vero!

    Yesterday I was in Nairobi and I had a spare minute or two while waiting to meet a friend. I went to kenya cinemas and went to the 4th floor, where Mr K told me you were working. Sadly it seems you have already moved to another place and I don’t know where that one is. Since I wont be back in Nairobi until friday, and Im leaving on saturday, we’ll have to stay in touch this way.

    Hope all’s well!