Continuing their Problem-based Learning, students from Mukamusaba Conservation Club in Livingstone spent the last session presenting the work they had prepared on the topic of extinction. They had previously discussed the effects extinction can have on the food chain, the environment, and for people who live alongside wildlife. Now it was time to talk about their findings to the rest of the class. The students have been busy developing their presentation skills over the last few sessions. At first, encouraging them to face forward when speaking and to project their voices was difficult. Some children were reluctant to participate at all. But gradually, all of them are beginning to grow in confidence.
Problem-based Learning in the classroom is allowing these students to take a more active role in their learning by encouraging them to ask questions and work out their own solutions to real-life problems. By doing this, it helps to put topics into context, making new information more likely to be remembered. This method used extensively in the UK and is being implemented at Mukamusaba Primary with the assistance of Coventry University.
Lion Encounter volunteer Adele was a little nervous to participate in an English literacy-based activity during a recent visit to the Book Club at Twabuka Primary School. As her first language is French, she wasn’t sure how easy it would be to support the students. However, after only five minutes, Adele was working comfortably with a group of children, smiling and helping them with their comprehension and understanding. Afterwards she talked enthusiastically about how much she had enjoyed the activity and working with the children. The students are continuing to make visible progress with every session and are taking a much more active role in their learning now.
Jessica, a community intern, had this to say about the student’s progress: ‘There is a huge difference in their reading ability from the first week I was here until now. In only three weeks’ time, the kids are really trying to understand their reading cards. Instead of just guessing, they take their time and ask questions if needed. If they get less than fifty percent, they are eager to try again; which proves that they are enjoying and learning from the activity.’
There was another large turnout at the Maunga Kids Club on Saturday, with around 70 children in attendance. The topic was houses from around the world; a lesson which had already been enjoyed by children from the Natebe Kids Club. It was a big hit here too. The older children were especially interested and took a leadership role in supporting the younger ones. As usual, their favorite part of session was creating artwork based on what they had just learned. The children were asked to draw their favourite house from the ones they had been looking at. Only one said they would chose to live in the igloo!
After the lesson, it was time for some physical activity outside. Whereas volunteers usually enjoy teaching the children new games, this time the tables were turned and it was their turn to try out something different. ‘Kudota’, a game which involves tossing a stone into the air, grabbing a handful of others, and catching it before it hits the ground, proved particularly difficult; much to the children’s amusement. The volunteers fared much better with ‘Lengu’, a song which involves actions and requires a good memory. Everyone was having so much fun that the lesson overran by 20 minutes and no-one wanted to leave.