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EiE in Tanzania: Professional Development at The Hope Girls and Boys School in Arusha, Tanzania

Posted by EiE Team on Thursday, May 13, 2021

In partnership with Ina Heafitz, Director of Friends of Meali International, we are thrilled to share more about how our professional development (PD) and curricula are being used to support the teachers and students at Hope Girls and Boys School in Arusha, Tanzania.

In our last post in our EiE in Tanzania series, we introduced Ina Heafitz and her work with Friends of Meali International to bring EiE to Arusha. In this post, we’ll share the story of how she partnered with the Hope Girls and Boys School to bring EiE professional development to the school’s educators and how we adapted those resources for international support. 

As Ina was looking for resources to support the Hope Girls and Boys School, she was drawn to EiE’s real-world connections and the diverse characters in the digital storybook series. She knew that Lucas Mhina, the founder of the Hope Girls and Boys School, especially wanted to promote equity in his school. 

The values embedded in the EiE curriculum aligned but, as they talked about implementation, both Ina and Lucas realized it would take some time to help the teachers learn to teach an entirely different style of curricula than they’d ever taught before. 

In Tanzania, a former British colony, the school system is more traditional than the current American style of teaching. Classes are typically quieter, rules more rigid, and the curriculum is less hands-on than you’d see in most American classrooms. After a classroom exchange where Lucas observed students in American schools using EiE in class, he was determined to bring the more engaging style of teaching—and learning to his STEM classrooms.

To support the 15 educators of Hope Girls and Boys School, EiE Professional Development Manager, Amanda Glover, facilitated a series of virtual trainings. Over the course of four sessions, Amanda collaborated with the elementary school educators to adapt and adopt the problem-solving mindset, engineering design process and EiE’s lessons for their classrooms. 

The following is an example of Hope Girls and Boys School PD implementation plan:

Duration and Method

Topic

60 minute webinar

Foundations of STEM

60 minute webinar

Project-Based Learning (PBL) Teaching Practices

120 minute webinar

EiE for Kindergarten: Designing Shelter

120 minute webinar

Engineering is Elementary: Designing Solar Ovens

60 minute webinar

Follow-up Consultation

Talk to the EiE Professional Development team to discuss the best training options and topics for your STEM program.

Hope Girls and Boys School educators will begin their STEM implementation by exploring engineering with their youngest learners. While teaching the EiE® for Kindergarten unit, Raise the Roof: Designing Shelters, and the Engineering is Elementary® unit, Now You’re Cooking: Designing Solar Ovens, they will engage their learners in the engineering design process to create solutions to real-world problems as presented by the context of each unit’s engineering storybook. Through material analysis, exploration of various fields of engineering, and critical thinking, young engineers can become life long problems solvers.

“Throughout all of the professional development sessions, I was super impressed with their openness and their own growth mindset whether they realized that they had it already or not. There were several times where they would ask questions, and I would respond providing examples but also challenging their thinking,” Amanda said of the training. “And they fully embraced those opportunities, talked as a group, and then are able to reply with their reflections and next steps. It's just a testament to the culture that they're building in their school, which aligns so wonderfully with the curriculum’s engineering design process.”

Ina also raved about the trainings, where Amanda also covered cultural differences between the U.S. education system relating to social-emotional learning, discipline, and collaboration. 

“I'm hoping that this is the exposure that they can use and also, hopefully it won't look exactly like EiE in the United States. It should be African EiE,” Ina said. 

The learning does not conclude upon leaving the virtual sessions. After an EiE PD session, educators are invited to join the free EiE Ambassador Program, a global community of STEM practitioners, where they can collaborate, share experiences, and support one another along their STEM journeys.

For more from Ina Heafitz, Friends of Meali International, the Hope Girls and Boys School in Arusha and other #eieinspired STEM journeys, check out @EiE_org on Twitter!

Written by EiE Team

Topics: Profiles, Implementing EiE, Engineering in Elementary STEM Education, STEM Implementation, EiE Ambassador

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