Wednesday was our first day at Kuzungu Secondary School. We had rather large classes for what we expected. We had over 90 students in total, so we split into two groups, each with 40-50 students. They were respectful and eager to learn, though their knowledge of the English language was limited, which opened our eyes to just how challenging this experience would be. We focused the first class on introductions of each other and the program. One of our first activities was to have the students create a title page for their notebooks, however the concept of a decorative title page did not seem to be emphasized in their school. They did seem, though, to enjoy sharing three things about themselves, which was the later half of this activity. During the remainder of this class we overviewed the Badili program and introduced the yearbook that we will be providing them with at the conclusion of our four weeks. We ended the day by initiating a “Gender Role” activity, which was completed in groups and which proved to be effected in increasing participation and helping those who struggled with English comprehension. Consistent with previous years, we also introduced the concept of a “Suggestion Box” where students can anonymously ask questions that they may not be comfortable asking in front of the class. We will be addressing these questions throughout the program. There was a high volume of questions from this school concerning HIV/AIDS, so we will devote more time to this topic over the next few weeks.
Yesterday was a trying day at Rubana Secondary School. Again, our numbers were far greater than expected, totaling over 125 students. As we did not expect such high numbers, we were substantially short on school supplies and found it challenging to teach such large classes. Although the English language comprehension was better at this school, classroom management was difficult due to the numbers and attitudes of these students, which were less focused than students at our other school. As a student in Education, this experience was particularly challenging for me. I have not experienced class sizes this large in Winnipeg, and have noticed that I will need to be more assertive than I typically have been in classrooms at home.
It is great to see such an overwhelmingly high interest in the Badili program. Our next topic, which we will begin at Kuzungu School today, is gender equality and human rights. We hope that we can make some progress with the language barrier.