As I look back through all the photos that have been taken in the different workshops over the past two months I am struck by how they all share one thing in common:, creativity. Creativity and its promotion are the main goals of LTP, engaging students in an alternative learning method that allows them to think outside the box and come up with solutions to problems. The students have been consistently resourceful, expressive, and inventive with their work, all the while illustrating exactly what they want to.
Looking at these photos is what brings a smile to my face and a sense of pride for all of the work our group has done over the past two months. While our work may not be quantifiable, I feel that we have made an impact on the students and built great connections within the community. LTP is all about awareness and understanding; it is meant to be partnered with the existing teaching practices in the classroom to add another dimension to learning. I feel that we as a team worked hard to mix LTP into the curriculum, and it inspired many students and teachers. Yet the teachers and students are not the only ones who have learned something through this experience, our team has learned so much as well.
The picture I have chosen was from our work at Arusha Day Secondary School our last week here. We worked with three streams of Form I students, each with 60 students in the stream. The focus of the day was on pre-colonial Tanzania and the industries, agriculture, and handicrafts of that time. We had read over the pages of the book that covered the topic but still didn’t know a huge amount about the subject. Because of this and the students’ knowledge on the subject we were able to learn right along with them and gain more information about the history of Tanzania and its industries. With the students we were able to walk to a Maasai curios market just down the road from the school and take pictures there as well as around the grounds of the school. The photo I have chosen is from my last group of the day, and our topic was “handicrafts.” When I asked them what some examples of handicrafts were they came up with a variety of answers. We were then faced with the problem of illustrating some of those examples.
Immediately two students walked off into the bushes and pulled down two or three leaves and passed them around to everyone in the group. When I asked what they were making the told me they were going to weave a mat from leaves. The students quickly tore the leaves into strips and wove them in to a mini version of the dried leaf mats I have seen throughout my time here. I was amazed by their speed and innovation in creating something so recognizable and well known. The students then taught me what the mats were used for today and back in pre-colonial times. I think that this is representative of our time here in Tanzania. We learn as much from the students, if not more, as they learn from us. Each week has been a new and different learning environment, and I value each and every moment of creativity and joy that we experienced.