The need for visual classroom resources, a reflection by Nick

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These photos, I think show how currently public schools in Arusha have very limited visual resources in their classrooms. These pictures were taken when a teacher brought in a visual aid he had stored away in the office. The only place in class for the 80 students to see was atop the blackboard, nailed into a cracking hole in the wall, hammered with a rock. This process alone took about 10 minutes—from finding the poster, to figuring out how to nail it up. The students then had to take turns in groups of three or four to come up and then balance on top of a rickety desk to catch a three-second glimpse of the visual. This method, although useful, I think can be dramatically improved through a simple application of LTP ideas. In this class, our project was to make individual photographic examples of the same visuals presented in similar posters or in their lecture books. Instead of having penciled or drawn sketches, the students could see actual living examples of the plant samples. This also allows the students to stay at their desks, and pass the images around without creating such chaos.

If public schools like Daraja mbili began to print out or photocopy simple visuals, such as maps and pictures, and have these available to pass around each desk, the classroom dynamic would be greatly improved. I think that at this moment, the idea to have each student go out and photograph is a bit idealistic, and mostly impractical. The school and students would reap greater benefits if they had reusable laminated visual aids. These could be produced by the LTP club for example, which Daraja Mbili has implemented. Also, when students are presented with a camera, especially at the secondary school ages, their attention shifts to a recreational one, and they would sneak out and take glamour shots when unsupervised. The visual concept of having themselves in the picture masks the creative and instructional aspect of their work. Taking this out of the equation, and presenting an already completed visual aid, although not as involved/participatory, still has a positive effect in the public education system.

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