With my tummy full of porridge and passion fruit I was fired up to start the next day of training. The game plan for today was to have the teachers from each of their subjects: mathematics, language, social studies, and science to each deliver a lesson plan. After delivering the lesson plan the teachers would work together to see what story based learning elements could help improve the lesson or “make it come to life” for the students. Having a lesson taught by the Rwandan teachers was a way for us working with AFP to see and learn how the teachers normally approach curriculum in the classroom. In a sense those who were teaching (the group of AFP volunteers) became the students. It was both a humbling and curious experience of seeing how Rwandan teachers would engage with potential students in the classroom and appreciating how different it is from the Western education system.
My AFP group group leader, Jenai and I were in charge of the social studies teachers group. One of our teachers gave a lesson on the environment and teaching students the differences between manmade and natural components. With the tools from story based learning we were able to utilize kinesthetic movement as a way to make the lesson from a lecture into action.
By the end of the day the teachers came up with a theme that they want to always lean back on in their classrooms when classes resume:
“With strong goals and determination we can move forward towards success.”
This is a concept that the teachers created by themselves and want their students to not only model but understand. Since one thing we constantly are teaching through the Anne Frank Project is the everybody’s stories matter; in the sense that we all have dreams, goals and lives that matter. It’s important for all of us especially the students to remember that.
About the Author
Hi my name is Monique Newman and I am a junior pursuing a degree in Sociology at Pepperdine University. In my free time I enjoy spending most of it outdoors engaging in various hiking activities with friends, playing basketball or spending all day at the beach. The first time I heard of the Anne Frank Project was through a leadership conference that I attended while studying abroad in Switzerland during my second year of college. My desire to see the world, diving into new experiences and serving diverse communities is what made me want to embark on this new journey to Rwanda with SUNY Buffalo State College. One of the most important aspects about this trip is going in with an open mind and being willing to empathize. I believe this is essential in order to hear and be present while learning about people’s individual stories and life lessons as well as understanding the beauty of cultures that are different from my own.