This October, the Redearth Field Team and volunteers took to the road once more, heading out to Hoima District to set up a model classroom for students at Bulera Primary Teacher Training College (PTC).
This journey across the red earth was part of the Pilot Project we have recently set up with Bulera PTC. Working closely with the college students and tutors, we are delivering a series of training workshops around the first two modules of the Redearth programme (the physical and the emotional learning environments).
By implementing a model classroom at Bulera college, we have provided students with a clear example of an exemplary classroom, which they can visit and inspect for themselves. This allows students to gain a deeper understanding of what their future classrooms should look like and what they should include within it. The model classroom will also be used to supplement our worshops, providing tangible reference points as we train students in factors that create a successful and effective learning environment. Such a classroom is similar to the model classroom we set up earlier in the year at this Kampala hotel to support our training for STIR Education.
Once we arrived at Bulera college, the Redearth Field Team and volunteers got straight to work transforming the bare room into a model classroom. A flurry of sweeping, brushing, mopping and cleaning began as we raced to make the room spotless and ready for its transformation. This was followed by a spot of lunch to refuel the team. Then we all got creative with the learning aids, filling the room’s empty walls with colour. We make all of our learning aids using waste materials that are readily available in the community, such as plastic bottles, banana fibre, cardboard and rice sacks. Redearth volunteer Lydia explains, “Kate and I helped to organise the maths and science areas, and made more resources from local materials as they were needed. It was fascinating to see how much could be made from bottles, boxes and sacks!”
Plastic bottles were snipped in half and strung across the wall to make bottle lines for blending sounds. Charts, diagrams and posters were crafted out of large sugar sacks and displayed around the room. These skills are extremely useful for teachers to improve their classroom learning environments at a minimal cost. Following these methods, it is possible to improve the learning environment even in the most basic classrooms.
“By the end of the afternoon the student teachers had finished their work and were beginning to gather outside the room, intrigued to see what we had done. The room was intended to give the students examples that they could use and adapt in their own classrooms, and they seemed to enjoy finding out about everything on display,” said Lydia. All of the students enjoyed looking around the classroom, and our Field Staff and volunteers were on hand to explain the uses of different materials. They pointed out ways in which to best organise the classroom, including the grouped layout of desks and furniture, and how to use the learning aids displayed across the walls.
This model classroom will remain in use by the college and will hopefully will be added to, assisting students to understand the need for a positive learning environment to enhance pupil learning. This can then serve as a catalyst for student teachers at the college, with the hope that they can replicate the best practices viewed in the model classroom when they begin teaching in their own classrooms.
“We hope the college, students and future cohorts will continue to use and be inspired by the model classroom!” – Lydia.