News from Rumbek

Student teachers using art to open younger minds in lower primary

Many young learners have a short concentration span and art lessons are a perfect way to capture and hold their attention in class. At Loreto, we are working with our learners at an early age to help them to develop basic art skills with the help of our student teachers.

Twice a week, some of our student teachers work with the lower primary students for one hour, learning how to control a class and helping their young students to resolve conflict – promoting a peaceful and conducive learning environment for all.

One student teacher, Antoneta Aciek explains, “We are keen on who understands and examine how long we are able to teach certain content. We repeat for them to understand and hopefully they do. We also understand them because as humans we may also portray similar characters so we help them to learn as much as we can. It helps one learn to be neutral with kids because they can be stubborn sometimes and need to be controlled and with time they’ve improved. In the whole process we also improve our own learning skills.”

Earlier this year, these student teachers were trained in creating and managing art lessons by our resident primary school teacher trainer, Ms. Rita Achieng, with the support of Ms. Joy Chao.

The training is supported by MCC and aims to provide student teachers with the skills to help students with self-management, stress relief and peaceful conflict resolution.

Rose Aliet, a student teacher, explains, “We draw simple pictures on the board and they name them like chair, jug, and pot. We also draw the pictures we’ve been taught by Ms. Joy and Ms. Rita and the kids can copy and color them.”

Learning through art

Another student teacher, Regina Ayak adds, “We also teach them on prayer, some educative songs and plays. This helps them exercise and relax the mind and at the same time learn because learning is not only about class work.”

The art lessons have equipped the student teacher with skills to help calm the little ones and resolve conflicts among them.

“When pupils disagree as it happens sometimes, we separate them. We find out the source of conflict and then talk to them and make peace. We bring up a song they like or have interest in and they will be happy again and forget that unhappy moment. We can also introduce stories or games at such a moment,” explains Teresa Ayen, a student teacher in Senior 2.

These methods have worked well for the children. According to student teacher Rebecca Nyanjath, “We also identify kids who may repeatedly fight and be keen on them while in class and also ensure they don’t sit close to each other for some time, and give them the privilege after they understand the importance of peaceful coexistence. We also ensure that they have equal resources so that they peacefully carry out the lesson. We also encourage them to put across any problem (in English) so that we help them find solutions in a peaceful way.”

Our young learners have greatly enjoyed the art lessons. A Primary 1 pupil, Pascualo Akol reports, “I’ve drawn birds. I’m really waiting for more art lessons. I draw and color balls, hen and we also sing and feel happy.”

The students have shown a great interest and the thirst to learn more is intense. Anhiak is a girl from Primary 1 and she adds, “I have learnt songs that school is a good place to be as we get to learn. I have learnt how to draw bird I love it. I even draw when I am at home and it’s hard to forget. I love the classes so much and I want to learn more, even to draw people. I can also be drawing when I grow up.”

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