GET intern, Ashley Lauren Hamilton, facilitates dramatic activity exploring power dynamics (Columbian Hypnosis) with GET teacher training participant.

GET intern, Ashley Lauren Hamilton, assisted GET’s Ashley Olson in facilitating a weekend of teacher training in Zanzibar this past weekend. Teachers from 10 schools across Zanzibar participated in the workshops to learn new ways to incorporate drama into their lessons and classrooms. Here are some of Ashley Hamilton’s observations from the first day:

We got to the school and facilitated a teacher training for 20 Zanzibari teachers. It was incredible. We taught the teachers theatre tools to use in their classrooms and enhance their students’ experience and engagment. Most of the teachers taught form 3 and form 4 (ages 15-20) and taught English. I found this really interesting because many of them had difficulty understanding us – we had to talk very slowly, repeat ourselves, and act things out. I was surprised to learn how much difficulty the island’s English teachers had speaking and understanding English.

One of my favorite parts of the workshop was when we created image scenes about issues with teaching in Zanzibar – the teachers shared with us their concerns regarding teaching in Zanzibar. They all spoke about overcrowding (there are usually 50-70 students in one class with one teacher) and lack of materials (they get about two books per class of 70 students), and many times the teachers are required to teach in English but the students don’t know English so they fall far behind. It was so fascinating to get to talk with these teachers and give them  techniques to use in their classrooms.

One of the teachers and I were talking about how she could use image theatre in her classroom. She had the idea to use image theatre to explore poverty with her students. I asked her what she thought was the cause of poverty in Zanzibar was and she said, “No family planning.” I asked her how many children there are in most families, and she said usually 7-9. I am curious to know how women are or are not empowered to make choices about when to have children and how many to have.

Overall it was a truly thrilling experience for all. So many of the teachers were actively engaged in the training and excited to begin implementing these techniques. Now that I have had this wonderful experience with the teachers I look forward to embarking on our two-week workshop with the students at Kiembe Samaki on Monday. I can’t wait to see what discoveries these young people make along the way!

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