2015 was the fifth year LTD went to Zimbabwe for the project, but it was the first year we focused our workshops entirely on teachers. Through our experience in the past years, we found that the best and most effective way to reach pupils is through their teachers. We also decided to focus our workshop on creative teaching strategies, aiming to enhance teachers’ confidence and willingness in using such creative and studentactivating teaching methods in all (academic) subjects,
● by showing them, through research based theory and through practice (experience), the benefits of creative studentactivating teaching methods;
● by showing them, through research based theory and through practice (experience), that creativity can be a tool used in all academic subjects instead of just being a skill to be taught exclusively in art class;
● by familiarising teachers with downtoearth, research based theory on different learning styles and Bloom’s Taxonomy;
● by allowing teachers themselves to discover their own personal preferred learning style;
● by enlarging teachers’ repertoire of creative, learning style specific teaching methods, by offering them a large database of ideas and examples of such teaching methods, and
● by encouraging them to invent and improvise their own creative teaching methods.
We held an intensive course for inservice teachers, composed of different handson workshops about creative teaching strategies, different learning style preferences and the theory and application of Bloom’s Taxonomy. We stimulated direct implementation in the classroom where possible, and let the teachers reflect on their own as well as each other’s teaching experiences with these strategies in the classroom. We also conducted indepth interviews with participants to find out what they wanted and needed, and what believed would improve the didactic skills of their fellow teachers in their schools. We received overwhelmingly positive and appreciative feedback from participating schools and the teachers themselves, along with ideas for future workshops.
Some quotes from participants in our 2015 workshops:
“I found the workshop refreshing, and I have learnt other new methods of teaching that I didn’t know before.”
“The games have proved to be useful. They motivate pupils to learn!”
“Very effective to apply the methods to teachers first. I talked to some of the pupils that have been involved in the games they can’t wait to do it again! I ask myself, “how come we have never been taught to teach this way?”
“I found everything useful, but I particularly liked the motivational approaches, especially the games.”
“All the methods were very easy to understand and I would like to apply them in my class and lessons.”
“I liked the new and interesting teaching methods, and the Bloom’s taxonomy really useful.”
“I thought it was really good. We are touching things that we really do in our classrooms: we focus only on reproducing knowledge, but at the end of the day that’s not working you made us aware of that. It wasn’t easy, but you left us saying that we have to train this. And so we should.”