My name is Amy Simpson. I have recently completed my Bachelor in Elementary Education at McGill University. I moved to Montreal seven years ago from a town called Rawdon. I think that growing up in such a small town, fueled my need to get out and see the rest of the world. My love of learning as well as seeing the best and worst in teachers is what drove me into the educational sector. I was always compelled to find a way to make education and learning as fun as possible. My dream as a teacher is that one day students will look forward with anticipation to go to school and learn.
I have traveled within Canada, either by plane, bus or hitch-hiking and I have made it across this great country numerous times. My travels have also taken me into the United States as well as Australia. Although all these wonderful places have a unique culture of their own with so much to offer, going to Malawi is on a whole new scale. I have never immersed myself within a culture where the language and way of life is so different from my own. At the same time, this is what excites me the most.
As for my expectations, without having ever been in a similar situation it is hard to imagine what to expect. What I do hope to get out of this trip is an exchange of ideas and knowledge. I hope to be able to teach and share what I have learned over the years and to come back with new insights and having learned something new which I will then be able to bring into my own classroom in the future.
I have a variety of focuses in mind for this experience. My first is to have a wonderful time and get to know the people and the culture. Secondly comes the educational aspect, and it is not to demean it’s importance by putting it in second place, but I think that it can not be fulfilled without the first. I will be taking part in the curriculum development project. My primary focus is integrating transdisciplinary education and inquiry based learning into the curriculum. Then as a secondary focus, I will be looking into the different teaching strategies. For reasons of resource availability, student and teacher ratios as well as cultural differences I am sure there will be differences in teaching styles/strategies from what I have seen so far.
And in the words of my father, who taught for over 30 years, which he wrote on the first page of my travel journal, ”The world is yours to discover. To be a good teacher you must have the ”gift”. You have the ”gift” and now you must begin to share this gift. Safe Travels.” And this is what I intend on doing with my time in Malawi.
I am a 23-year-old adventurous student who loves traveling around the world. I also have many interests: baking, doll collecting, planting and teaching. I have always wanted to be a teacher and am pursuing the dream at McGill University. I love many things such as good music and food, a comfortable sofa, fantasy novels and my dear old cat; however, once in a while, I leave my comfort and my beloveds behind to try, see, feel, taste, smell, hear, and learn to make new beloved things. So far I have been to more than 10 countries over 4 continents and from each trip I learned about myself and the world around me. Then I realized another joy of traveling; sharing. Sharing my experiences is not only about passing on my knowledge but I, in return, learn from other opinions and knowledge.
Consequently, as I traveled around the world, I paid close attention each country’s early childhood education system, especially in Canada, South Korea, and Kenya. These experiences helped me broaden my view and learn from their advantages and disadvantages. Using this experience and knowledge, I want to study Malawi’s elementary school curriculum. I will focus especially on the science curriculum, incorporating more readily available or easily accessible teaching materials and various hands-on approaches to the subject. I hope my research doesn’t end only in Malawi but will take me to other places as well where I can help students to see a bigger world through better lenses. I hope, through this blog, I get to share what I gained from this trip along with your help on the way.
Nice to meet you! This being my first blog entry in the Praxis Malawi adventure, it would be the least in terms of politeness and logic to present myself. With all due respect, I will however try not to do so. The reasons for trying to adopt the “non-bio” approach here are quite simple, and I hope you appreciate them: 1) No matter what I will try to say, it is often said that it’s the writing itself that shows the real personality of an author. So I suggest that we get to know each other throughout the weeks, through our written exchange of ideas and experiences. 2) I am pretty sure that many points I would make here will either be slightly altered or even obsolete after our time in Malawi. At least, I hope I will learn and change.
But whoever says change also says starting point, which can be summarized in something like this: Corinne Marcoux. 22. Student at McGill University and transitioning into becoming a real elementary school teacher next year. Francophone speaking but also English, and hopefully some Chichewa too by the end of this adventure. Born in LaTuque, Quebec and lives in the world. Former gymnast. Passionate of outdoor activities, travel and discoveries. Lifelong learner. Dreamer. It will be interesting to see what I have done when we come back from Malawi; will I be able to add “curriculum development assistant” or something around those lines?
Is it too simplistic to have that my only expectation for the Praxis Malawi project that to learn? I am more than excited to be part of a very dynamic and generous team working on the development of a curriculum for an alternative school. I will always do my very best to coordinate the project’s various areas of work into a coherent product respectful of the local expectations. This means to communicate as much as possible with the team, both inside and outside of Malawi—so please remind me if I ever miss to do so! What I really want is to keep an open mind and learn both from the experience and from Malawi.
Let’s jump into it! And learn from each other.