International Women's Day – analysis, research discovering new forms of advocacy and an essay contest!March 1, 2014
Next Saturday, March 8th is International Women’s Day and this week I created and fun and interactive curriculum focusing on this day.
I found a great series called “Why Women Count” which is 41 five minute short films about women all over the world. Each of the five films has struggles of women from around the world, how they overcame these struggles and how they are helping others – there are many forms of advocacy shown in each video which I am hoping the students will pick up on and be able to get ideas from. After each short film students will have time to answer two critical thinking questions relating to what they saw in the film. This lesson was a nice change of pace by showing students how the skills YAN teaches can be multifaceted and used in so many ways to help improve peoples situations and lives all over the world. I also think it was great for students to see how a short 5-min video can really enlighten those who watch it and tell a story. The assignment for all three classes is an International Women’s Day Essay Contest. After the films and discussion, they had approximately 30min to do online research for their essay which will be due next week.
Wednesday was a swing and a miss followed by swing and a grand slam. The power went out late Tuesday evening but I was confident it would come on by the morning. I awoke to no power. I had a bit of battery left in my computer so I made sure the curriculum was perfect and I transferred it to my flash drive for printing. Soon it was 11am and the power was still not on. I called some friends around town to see if other areas had power. There was power in Great Soppo so by noon I was printing in Great Sopo. Whenever there is a power outage in Molyko or even all of Buea, Lycee still has school because they had a generator. That day was different…
As I neared the computer lab just before 1pm, a few of the YAN students were waiting and greeted me. They complained that the doors were already locked (they should no be locked until 2:40pm when school closes). I was able to find Kenneth (the teacher in charge of the lab) who said that the generator had “failed” and there were no working computers. Because of this, we were forced to reschedule class for Saturday. I was disappointed but there was nothing that could be done.
I went early to Buea Town, where there was light and I could charge my computer. There were no student clubs that day for some reason so all of the students ended up coming early to class. Instead for 3/3:30 we started at 2:30 and went until just about 5pm. This class was a grand slam!! They were so attentive and receptive to all the new information they were getting. I was genuinely impressed with their ability to analyze and critically think in order to answer the questions given as we debriefed on every short film. There were 15 students and 4 groups. After distributing the essay assignment and discussing it with the students there were only a couple of questions, none pertaining to the actual questions themselves.
For one hour we moved into the cyber café so that students could work on their web based research skills to collect information they would later use at home to write their essay. Again, Buea Town impressed me with their almost natural researching skills. They all got onto their own computer, some sharing, and just started typing away. No one had questions and when I was going around watching their searches, they were all solid research phrases! This is one skill they have clearly mastered.
The plan for Thursday’s Advanced YAN class was to present the same material as given the previous day for the regular club. The Advanced class would be given the same essay assignment and watch the same short films. Working with a group of eight 14 year old boys was a bit more challenging than the co-ed group in Buea Town, but at least through their giggles and laughter I know they were paying attention.
For the second day in a row, the student did not finish their homework. I warned them that if the homework was no finished by next week classes would be cancelled. I know how much they love YAN and how important these classes are to them so I don’t see their behavior gravely affecting the end results and goals of the class. Next week we will do our podcast recordings and hopefully have students choose who they will be interviewing and set up interview times/dates. There is holiday break from April 4th – 21st so I want to get the videos finished before then so that they can focus on their sensitization project.
On Friday I went to Lycee at 7am to make an announcement reminding students about Saturday’s YAN class (or the option of Friday after school in case students couldn’t make it over the weekend). I came back to the computer lab at 2:30pm and met 5 students who preferred to have class then instead of Saturday. 6 of the Advanced students came in to do more research on their essay questions. I had one student choose his own essay question. While the 5 club students watched the short films and discussed, the Advanced students did their research on the computers. Afterwards, they had 40min to research on the computers.
Saturday was less than what I had hoped for. The only student that showed up was one who had come to Friday’s class and wanted to do more research for his essay. I’m happy he was motivated and came in, but I am a bit concerned because only 5 out of 17 students have received the assignment which will be due next Wednesday. I will be going to the school on Monday to see if I can round up any more students.
Posted by Antonia.