LCSS Project Improving Teachers’ Relationship with Learners
Carolyn Kafodya Linje, a standard 1 and 2 teacher at Mzumazi Primary School in Lilongwe has been teaching for 19 years now. Like many other primary school teachers, her daily teaching routine had been reading in front of the pupils and writing on the board and nothing more.
“Every day I made sure that I delivered my lesson plan and then knock-off,” says Linje.
Throughout the years, it was not a problem at all for Linje as a teacher seeing a pupil packing up before the class was over. She could not even bother to follow up on learners who absconded classes or dropped out of school.
‘I believed it was the responsibility of the learners’ parents to ensure their children attended school,” she explains.
In 2016, Linje attended two trainings during school holidays on In Service Training Programme through the Let Children Stay in School (LCSS) project being implemented by Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) Malawi at Mzumazi Primary School where she is teaching today.
Through the trainings, she acquired skills of keeping learners at schools by creating conducive learning environment for them. In addition, she was taught to ensure a good relationship exists between the learners and her by among others, following up on them when they abscond classes.
Using local resources, she fully decorated the inside walls of her class with child friendly paintings of diagrams, numbers and words. Some colourful words inscribed on cards hang up under the roof of the class in rows. She also made a beautiful seamless watch which hangs in front of the class. “The learners find the watch more interesting because most of them have never seen a wall clock at their home,” Linje says.
Since then, her teaching methods have changed for the better. She says her relationship with the learners has also improved.
“Pupils in my class are enjoying lessons” says Linje. Am teaching using a simplified method called Teaching and Learning Using Locally Available Resources. The method is helping them find every lesson interesting and simple because they are able to visualize everything that I am teaching them.”
“I use these resources to teach them in relation to the topic that I am delivering that day.” Explains Linje adding, “learners are now able to read the painted words. My class is more interactive and pupils easily understand every lesson very fast unlike in the past when it used to take much time for a pupil to read text.”
The LCSS project phased out in May 2018 after three years of implementation with funding from the Rodger Federer Foundation. It aimed to reduce the dropout rate for children in lower grades of standard 1 and 2 in 114 primary schools in six districts of Chitipa, Rumphi, Ntchisi, Lilongwe, Machinga and Nsanje. Some of its activities include training teachers in handling special needs children through in-service training at DAPP Teacher Training Colleges; establishing and promoting school gardens and feeding programs; establishing hand washing facilities; rehabilitating classrooms and constructing playgrounds for the children.