Teaching in Tanzania

I am Katie, a Media and Journalism intern at Art In Tanzania. As part of my project, I am able to travel alongside my fellow interns to their projects and document what happens there.
Today we visited Mtakuja Secondary School, an international school that teaches students from 13 to 20 years old. The school provides the students education on Maths, Sciences, Geography and Kiswahili classes, and has an arts department that includes a variety of subjects, such as History, English and Sport. The school also has a small library and medical area and teachers told me that they are hoping to gain funding for a sports court someday in order to expand the variety of sports available for the students to practice.

 

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We arrived at the school during the students break and I was able to speak to a few of the students about the school and what they like about it. Teddy, aged 14, told me that she enjoys going to school to study maths and sciences, especially as she dreams of being an engineer when she is older. For students such as Teddy, there is a physics lab, and other specific departments within the school where they can study individual subjects. Two girls I spoke to at break time told me that they spend most of their time in one department as they only study business at the school. Interns have the opportunity to choose a department to teach in if they would like to. To start the process of teaching at the secondary school, interns go and discuss important details with the teachers such as the syllabuses that the students are learning and the school timetable. Interns have time to plan lessons and to collaborate between projects in order to produce a fun and interesting lesson for the students.

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I joined a class where Nathaniel, Daverine and Lara were teaching Human Rights. Nathanial asked the students to name what they thought were their basic human rights and write them on the board. The students were engaged and discussed why basic human rights are important and what rights belong to individual countries, for example: the right to carry a gun is exclusive to the United states of America. Nathaniel spoke of the origins of the 30 human rights created by the United Nations, and how religion and morality played a role in human behavior and basic rights before the law was passed. After the lesson, Lara spoke of how important it is for young students to be educated on their rights and other important issues. As interns, teaching is a good way to connect with the local people and understand more about what life is like as a young person in Tanzania.

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At the accommodation, there are facilities to teach younger children that go to school in the village. This takes place in the evenings so it is easier to participate in teaching this way if your project requires you to be elsewhere during the daytime, or if you prefer a more casual environment. The interns can play with the children and teach them English and maths in a comfortable environment which often proves most rewarding. From spending time teaching the younger children, I found I could learn as much from them as they could from me, and we ended up writing things in English and Kiswahili and teaching each-other the correct pronunciation. Hanging out with the village kids is a lot of fun, especially as they loooooove to dance (and to laugh at my terrible moves) and it is wonderful to see their language skills developing, especially if you have spent a lot of time with the same children. Nathanial also runs a debate group with adult students who wish to improve their English skills. He allocates time for practice with numbers and words which the adults are struggling with. This is also a fantastic opportunity to find out the opinions of the adults and learn from them.

 
Overall, I think that taking the opportunity to teach while doing an internship with Art In Tanzania is a fantastic thing to do and will really increase your involvement in local life here. The experiences I have from meeting students and teaching here are ones that I will never forget, and I have learned a great deal from the young people in this country.

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