On a recent visit to Gambia, Dee Bixley attended a two-day teaching training seminar organised by the Trust.
The Trust's two-day teacher training seminar in January was led by Kemo Bah, our Education Director and Gambian Management Team Director. An expert in nursery education, he thoroughly enjoys working with Kira and the Gambian/UK teams.
Among the seminar activities, the teachers were asked to take turns to sing with their ‘pupils’, as a way of livening up a possibly sedate lesson. They were almost dancing as they weaved around the desks!
The teachers also took turns at pretending to be disruptive children - practising some of their newly acquired skills in dealing with such classroom behaviour.
Mr Ousman Trawally, Head of ECD [Early Child Development] at SBEC International School, led the Saturday session. He travelled especially from Basse, on the south bank of the River Gambia. Engaging him was quite a coup as he’s well known in his field and much sought after.
His last words to the teachers were: “If you are a truly gifted teacher you can teach with no resources at all.”
A special addition to the seminar came when Kemo announced the African Oyster Trust’s first Teacher of the Year award. Kemo used the opportunity to inspire the other teachers to emulate the good work of Pa. Further, the importance of being good role models for young children, and passionate about their work.
This award scheme, devised by two UK Friends of the Trust, goes to Alhasan Jarju (widely known as ‘Pa’).
The beauty of the award, if it becomes an ongoing initiative, is that it would benefit Gambian nursery teachers and UK nursery teachers. Pa, for example, will enjoy the accolade of his award, together with a one-off financial recognition. In the UK, a teacher will receive a Certificate of Appreciation, in the words of a nursery pupil. And in that teacher’s name, a donation will be made to an inspirational teacher in Gambia.
Later, Pa said: “I was so very happy and surprised. My colleagues said I deserved it. Of course, I pointed out that being the 1st Teacher of the Year didn’t mean I was better than them. Just that I was better this year! I think it will make them strive to achieve this too.”
Finally, Kemo and the teachers sent their appreciation to all those who supported the funding for this training.
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The news diary is written by a number of people close to the work of the African Oyster Trust, including founder James Holden, his co-directors, trustees and volunteers.