Val Payne writes ...
"This was my second visit to NOTDEC; and, as a teacher, my main focus was the on-site nursery school there. It was lovely to meet up again with the four teachers and to renew friendships.
I knew how education is carried out in Uganda. Most learning is by rote, with some English right from the start. I didn't want to try to impose British teaching methods, but to come alongside and encourage them, and to find ways of helping them within their culture.
Fortunately, I’d also done my homework!
Before we left the UK, Carlee had asked the teachers what would most help them; and they had asked for pictures for each of the words in the list of vocabulary that they are required to teach the children.
Using that list, and with my brother-in-law’s help, I downloaded pictures which reflected African life. Then Carlee undertook the laborious task of labelling and laminating 200 of them!
It was worth all the time and effort, however, as the NOTDEC teachers were delighted with the pictures, and they are now strung across the classrooms and used daily to teach vocabulary.
The day begins with the children lining up and reciting things like the days of the week, months of the year and parts of the body – all interspersed with actions and songs delivered enthusiastically at high volume. After singing the National anthem and praying, everyone marches into class.
I spent every morning working alongside the teachers and was able to show them some new ways to help the pupils – especially those who find learning more difficult.
Between 11:30 and 12 noon, we had free activities – including playing with the new musical instruments, sports equipment and toys that had arrived in boxes sent out from the UK. It was so good to see how much enjoyment the children and teachers got from these items.
Everyone wants to play an instrument - and most somehow manage to do so! And there's great excitement when the children see the cars.
Ideas in Action
A few weeks before we arrived, a British man had visited the school. Wanting to do something for them, he had shaved his head to raise money. Then he asked what they wanted to spend the money on; and they said whiteboards and books.
So, in a shop in nearby Kasese, he had large numbers of A4 sheets of white paper laminated. These function well as individual whiteboards, and all the children love using them.
As for the books, John, Carlee, teacher Robert and I went to buy them – with the emphasis on ones suitable for Nursery School. The teachers were very pleased with them and put them into use immediately.
Dorcas uses her new book and whiteboard for the first time.
There have been challenges but it has been a happy, interesting time in Uganda, with plenty to thank God for – and many reminders to pray for all involved in NOTDEC."