We began our second workshop with nine teachers who were completely new to the Literacy Through Photography methodology on Monday, June 30. For the first time in Arusha we worked with teachers from secondary schools and local teacher’s colleges in addition to primary school teachers. With the added guidance of Wendy Ewald and the rest of our increased knowledge of how LTP will function best in Tanzanian schools we had a very smooth first day in which the teachers learned how to read images and photographed a childhood self-portrait. Each teacher seemed to take on his or her childhood persona as they took pictures of themselves on the playground, dancing in the field, or displaying a wide range of dramatic emotions.
The Workshop Continues….
Day two of the workshop brought us nearly thirty more teachers who had attended the 2007 LTP workshop held in Arusha last summer. An alphabet project themed around the core Tanzanian school subjects split the group into seven smaller groups of teachers each accompanied by a Duke student.
My group was in charge of creating a history alphabet. I followed along as they led me across town to a local museum in order to get the pictures we needed. Upon returning to the Arusha School grounds I was pleasantly surprised by my group’s creativity as they recruited several Arusha School students and played with various camera angles to help us in creating the rest of our alphabet.
Only in Our Dreams
Ndoto za usiku, sleep dreams; ndoto nzuri or mbaya, good or bad dreams; ndoto za mchana, day dreams; ndoto za matumaini, hopes and dreams; ndoto za alinach, illusions and fantasies—first with the teachers attending the workshop then with the students in Arusha Schools’s 5C and 6C classes we explored our various types of dreams. I was amused to watch one of the teachers act out her dream of her family making a band and I was deeply touched by the work of one student who has lost her father, but depicted a dream of her father being alive again, making her family complete and helping her to overcome the bullying she sometimes receives from her peers. However, I was somewhat taken aback by how many teachers dreamt of receiving money from a ‘mzungu’ or foreigner.
Making Our LTP Dream a Reality
Overall, our LTP dream of making a positive impact on the Tanzanian education system has become less of a dream and more of a reality. I feel that both the students and teachers have embraced LTP and are beginning to understand the value of our goal of teaching students visual literacy, encouraging students to begin to look critically at their surroundings and question their environment, as well as realizing the value of using creativity in the classroom in order to move away from a memorization based education methodology.