Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lesson 1

Bright and early this morning I took a deliciously hot shower at the regional house in Dakar and Katherine and I headed off to the garage and back to site. Usually poor Katherine has to sit and wait for her car to fill up as Diourbel is a far less common destination than Thies. Today, Katherine was one of the last people in the car while I was one of the first so I watched her drive away as I started to have a panic attack that I wasn't going to make it back to Thies in time for Junior Achievement. Soon enough my car filled up and started rolling which meant I promptly fell asleep (Matt can attest to my horrible road-trip companion capabilities) and could not longer worry about making it to class. The traffic nightmare I experienced yesterday had a lot to do with entering Dakar. Leaving Dakar is easy and we were back in Thies in little more than an hour, which left me enough time to power nap, talk to Tamar, inhale a Clifbar and grab all of the supplies for JA before heading over to Kerry's house.

We strategized a little bit before going over to Lycee Technique to set up. Mr. Badiane, the teacher in charge of helping us, let us into the room and we rearranged the tables and chairs, taped up pieces of paper to write on, and made small talk with some of the teachers before the students arrived - very, very, late.

The lesson went mostly as planned. Kerry did the majority of the direct teaching and I did the icebreaker and went around to each group that needed help. Every time I do an icebreaker I'm shocked by how much people enjoy them. The first one I always do with a group in Senegal is to name their favorite local dish since food is so important here. Everyone always gets a kick out of the fact that I know all of the different plates and that I have an opinion about each and every one as well.

After introductions, we had the 8 teachers who are helping us break the students up into groups. We had discussed how the groups should be split by field of study, but that didn't happen. The groups are composed of random groups of students and one professor, but by the end of the class they had come up with some pretty good business ideas like solar ovens and a high quality print shop. The goal is to teach the professors at the Lycee Technique the JA method of teaching: "Learning by Doing." Therefore, Kerry and I don't talk too much and we rely heavily on the professors to explain concepts to their groups and get them talking. I think today went pretty well. There are definitely some amazing and engaging teachers in the group and then some others who need a little more help. Hopefully as both teachers and students start to get a better grasp on Junior Achievement and "Learning by Doing," they will start to become more interested in the class!

Pictures of recent events should be up soon. I never have electricity at my house and I'm out right now, but don't have my camera!

1 comment:

  1. The more you describe JA the more important I think it is to the students and teachers who are exposed to it. It sounds like you are learning a lot too in terms of working with a large group.