Working with Mandaka Teachers’ College, a post by Kaitlin Rogers

After three weeks working in and getting acquainted with Arusha we retreated to Mandaka Teacher’s College for a five-day LTP workshop. Mandaka’s campus is beautiful, tucked away amidst cornfields and farmland at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We arrived on Monday afternoon, and the campus was quiet, and Mama Mchoma, the principal, was the first to warmly welcome us. After signing the guest book we quickly settled into our dorm rooms and met with the teachers for lunch.

This workshop was for the teachers of Mandaka Teachers College. We hoped to familiarize them with the methodology and utility of “Learning Through Photographs” so that they can introduce LTP in their classrooms as a tool for their students to use in their future classrooms. It is exciting to consider LTP’s potential if these teachers present LTP to their students each year and those students graduate to teach all throughout Tanzania.

On Monday we simply met with the teachers and briefly introduced the program, and on Tuesday morning we dove into the workshop with a reading photographs exercise and the first shooting assignment. The teachers seemed eager to lean about LTP; however, at first it was slightly challenging to communicate the unique mentality. With LTP, for example, there is often no correct answer. In fact, much of LTP is about noticing and appreciating different answers and ideas. This is often hard for teachers here to grasp because it is so different from their traditional approach. As the workshop progressed, however, the teachers slowly grew more comfortable with LTP. Together we worked through many more reading photograph and writing exercises and completed the “Best Part of Me” project and four subject-themed alphabet projects.

On Thursday we divided the teachers by subject and worked with each teacher individually to design a LTP project that would fit specifically into their curriculum. This one-on-one time was a great way to make sure each teacher understood that it is possible to incorporate LTP in any curriculum. It was also a useful way to gage each teacher’s understanding of LTP, which turned out to be quite impressive. By the final day each teacher had developed a lesson plan and completed the project. The walls of the workshop room were covered with colorful visual aids, and the teachers took turns standing before the group to present their work. Working individually to create lesson plans turned out to be extremely effective, and we look forward to hearing if the teachers follow through with the projects in their classrooms.

Thank you, Mama Mchoma and teachers and staff of Mandaka Teacher’s College for so graciously hosting us for five days. We really enjoyed working with and learning from you.

KAITLIN’S PHOTOGRAPHS FROM MANDAKA

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