By Emily Parker (Bishop’s)
The second grade curriculum was in full swing today! It was the first time the four of us (2 Education students from McGill: Lia & Kimberley, 2 Education students from Bishop’s: Clare & I… Go Gaiters Go!!!) actually sat down together since our curriculum “Bootcamp” at Bishop’s with Melanie and Dr. Stonebanks the weekend before our departure. Here in Malawi, we have the opportunity to work with two men from the village. This not only allows us to assure our ideas and activities are culturally relevant, but also that we keep the people here involved in the entire process. One of the Malawian’s we are working with very closely is named Francis and the other is Maxwell. Francis was also a part of the development of the grade 1 curriculum last May 2013. As for Maxwell, he recently graduated from teacher’s college. Between the six of us, in one day, we managed to get close to two full Units done, excluding the process of editing. The first hour or so of work was the toughest. We were all trying to figure out the best way to go about the whole process, but eventually ideas started to bounce off each other more naturally and the ball eventually started to roll much more smoothly.We had already worked to together back home, like I mentioned earlier, however I still really enjoyed the process as well as being surrounded by the people and children that can benefit from our work directly.
In a week hopefully, we will be emerged even deeper in the environment by working directly in the soon to be finished Grade 1 classroom building, which was unfortunately supposed to have been finished on time for the students to have started school September 2013, though neither the classroom nor the teacher house were entirely constructed. Therefore, the aim is to have students coming to our school at least for Grade 1 if not even Grade 2, all depending on our work and the construction by Fall September 2014. In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to create the finest and culturally significant Grade 2 curriculum using local resources. In addition, we are working hard at integrating the locally defined problem areas of existing schools, being: creativity, entrepreneurship and critical thinking which we will keep in mind during the entire process of curriculum development. Lastly and most importantly, as our ultimate goal, we will work to better the future of the children!