Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 3: KISA Schools

On Wednesday, July 3, we visited two KISA schools in the Soweto slum just outside Nairobi. KISA stands for Kenya Independent Schools Association. These are non-governmental private schools that serve very poor people all across Kenya. Although the physical environments in classrooms and access to resources were very different from our own, the processes for teaching and learning were very much the same.
The neighborhood surrounding Galilee Primary School and St. Mathew Secondary School

Entrance to St. Mathew Secondary School
A student explaining a problem involving relative speed.

We saw students who were involved and interested in their learning and we also saw students who seemed bored with the curriculum and detached from their teachers. We saw some teachers who were able to engage their students in rigorous and relevant instruction and we also saw teachers who struggled to teach concepts in ways that fostered deep understanding. 

One thing that seemed evident in every school was that students VALUE learning and view education as one of the most important things they can achieve for themselves, their families, and their communities. These schools demonstrated that although resources and physical environments are important and can greatly enhance the educational experience, they are not necessities for high quality instruction. The relationships between the teacher and the students and the ability of the teacher to productively engage students with content is what really matters.


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