By Neil Atkin @Natkin
It was fascinating returning to Kenya after 24 years away. Much has changed, but the stunning warm smiling people and chaotic transport system remain the same.
The computer revolution largely bypassed Kenya in schools, but with the massive adoption of mobile technology there is a chance for real revolution. It is not that unusual to see a Masai in full tribal dress, pull out a mobile phone to check his Facebook status. The Wi-Fi in the Pride Inn, Westland’s, Nairobi was as good as most British Hotels and coverage in Coffee Shops etc is free and effective. Tablets are very expensive at the moment and this will be an issue.
Teaching some Masai about impulse (and how to win bets) using bottles and a note.
The delegates who came along were very strong leaders and teachers (One of the issues of hotel training is you don’t really see the ones who really need it) There was a very good grasp of current pedagogical practice and the ideas on the courses were received with enthusiasm.
Assessment for Learning, Nairobi. Pinned on the @teachertoolkit #5minplan map
Much of Kenyan teaching is still very much about the delivery of knowledge rather than skills and it will take a long time to change this focus. Digital devices provide instant sources of knowledge for free, so the challenge is how to make sense of the information and to be able to manipulate it in a useful way. People who can do that can compete on equal terms with anyone in the world. For the first time ever we are heading for a connected world that is a level playing field and curiosity, questioning and creativity are going to be the skills the students need.
It was interesting talking to a Kikuyu woman, who said that the culture at home and school was based around respect for elders and that the idea of questioning things came in direct conflict with their upbringing, so she felt that these deeply embedded beliefs would oppose change. I left confident that the education of the students who were in the hands of the delegates on my courses would be excellent.
A reminder of why Africa has such a draw was the ten minutes it took to say goodbye to all of the staff who I had worked with that week and smiles such as the one below.
The Smile of Nairobi