Sunday, July 15, 2012

2012 LME Curriculum Development Workshop Part 1: CGI and NFE

Lhomon Education's 2012 Curriculum Design Workshop at Paro College of Education came to a close on Thursday, July 12th, with an afternoon of presentations at Hotel Holiday Home by our participants. We had a total of 45 participants from six organizations, 5 full time resource people and a number of special guests attend the workshop. It was a rich experience, generating important conversations and leading to some key new connections. Dasho Pema Thinley, Vice Chancellor of the Royal University of Bhutan officiated the opening lighting of the butter lamp, and also came to our closing ceremony. He said he was most impressed by our ability to bring together such an amazing group of people with a joint vision of bettering Bhutanese education.

At the closing ceremony, each group had 20 minutes to demonstrate what they had learned and detail their implementation plans. Even though we had provided ten days packed with sessions on a variety of relevant subjects—the importance of project based learning, methods of integration, mindfulness in the classroom, using theater/improv in the classroom, the four levels of listening, the Four Nobel Truths as a lesson planning tool, infusing values, using the local environment, distinctions between need and wants, combining art and math, active learning strategies, identity and storytelling, multiple intelligence—and even though they had spent ten days of hard work with intensive guidance by our facilitators, we didn't know what to expect.

In short, the presentations exceeded our wildest dreams. It was a most inspiring afternoon. Over the course of the workshop, each group had narrowed down their objectives, honed in on what was needed most, adjusted the assignments to suit their needs, ultimately coming up with strategic plans for how to change the way they are educating, some in small important ways, and others with a major overhaul.

Dawa and Lopon Dechen

Chokyi Gyatsho Institute 

The two monks from CGI, Tshering Darje and Lopon Dechen, were a wonderful complement to our eclectic group. They worked with the voluntary assistance of a senior education student at Paro College named Dawa who was a last minute addition to our roster but who turned out to be a major contributor to the workshop with his enthusiasm and active participation.

The CGI plan is to start implementation of a new curriculum in February 2012. There will be 6 units taught per year, each taking about 5 weeks, 3 hours a day, 6 days per week.

Tshering Darje
Dawa helped the monks develop a lesson plan based around water and demonstrated several active learning strategies he'd picked up during the workshop: Using a line up (shortest to tallest) to divide the group then counting us off into groups of six where we were asked to address water issues as they pertained to six different areas of study (water and health, water and government, uses of water, etc.) then come up with 3 questions on that subject. He explained that if he were to teach this unit at the monastery, he would then take the monks on a nature walk with an expert who would answer the questions as they walked.

It was a multi-faceted presentation and the whole group was actively engaged in Dawa's instruction. He will make a fine teacher and we hope to continue our work with him. The monks are heading back to eastern Bhutan to share what they learned with the others. In November I will be heading there myself to oversee the implementation of the curriculum alongside the teacher we hire (details to come!)

Nonformal Education Programme

Yeshi, Rinzin, Norbu and Dorji Wangchuk
working on their presentation.
We invited five Paro-area Nonformal Education Programme instructors to attend the workshop and were delighted by the talent and enthusiasm they poured into the work. They were a little reticent at first, there was a language barrier and they were not immediately understanding what we were trying to accomplish. But Jackie Mitchell worked closely with them from day one and they soon became one of the most active and vocal groups attending the workshop.

There was no one from an administrative level with them to help devise a long term plan but they went ahead and created lesson plans that could be used within their existing syllabus. Their focus was on linking language instruction with life skills and health awareness. They took the lead from Pawan Gupta and focused on project based learning that gives value to local wisdom and culture by using the local environment. Also drawing from Dr. Havinh Tho's presentation on multiple intelligence, they chose a project that would let people with various skills participate.

Their final lesson plan was to create a local dictionary of traditional health remedies and bioindicators (i.e. when a certain bird begins roosting, it's time to plant potatoes). Those with visual intelligence can help design and illustrate the dictionary, those with strong verbal intelligence can help translate it into Dzonghka and English, and those with strong logic skills can help figure out what it would cost to print and sell the dictionary, thus developing their basic math skills.

To top off their wonderful presentation, they did a role play, acting out some of the new classroom strategies they learned. They performed a scene where a teacher (Dorji Wangchuk) used Jackie's kinesthetic body movement for language instruction, tracing the letters with arms and adding sound and song to help memorization. All the instructors said they had learned many new techniques to use in their classes and felt energized and ready to try them out. Many thanks to Kelsang, Yeshi Jyamtsho, Norbu Wangdi, Dorji Wangchuk, and the ever entertaining Rinzin for their hard work and dedication. Bhutan is lucky to have you as teachers!

Download the Powerpoint Presentations Here.

Next...Ministry of Labor and Human Resources Vocational Training, Bhutan International School of Hospitality and Tourism, The Royal Education Council Thimphu and Paro, Bhutan Nuns Foundation, and Tarayana Foundation.

No comments:

Post a Comment