At PROWIBO we are very passionate about our teaching style. We don’t believe in lecturing for the sake of lecturing. We want learning to be an interactive experience between the professor and the students. With that in mind, it is always good to hear that students are responding to our style of teaching, and are finding it beneficial to their studies.
Learning continues after class ends
Joanne wrote to us today:
Today three classes averaged a consistent five students each. In the first class, most were attending my course for the first time so I could not continue with my planned lesson. Instead, I gave a condensed session combining last week’s material. Session two and three were very lively as we discussed the role of historical narrative in international relations, and what this means for rewriting Africa’s past and re-inventing Africa’s future. The past few days have taught me the importance of flexibility as we negotiate around students’ schedules and the administrative snags we’ve encountered in the past two weeks.
A few students commented that they have really enjoyed my pedagogical style – that they wished more of their lecturers used such a bottom-up, seminar-style approach because it generated better debate, a more critically engaged understanding of the concepts, and new ways of looking at the material. It had been mentioned in London that we would set up a teaching workshop, but given the rigid hierarchy at the university level […], I believe such a workshop would not be well-received. One student asked me why I did not insist that students addressed me as ‘Doctor’ and told me that in Sierra Leone, if students failed to do so, the lecturer would be very upset.
We understand that all Universities have their own teaching style, and that hierarchy is considered more important in some places rather than others. This is why we believe that offering short courses with lecturers from around the world can be an invaluable learning experience. Not only do the students get exposed to classes, and material that they might not otherwise interact with but they experience different styles of teaching.
In Yanoh’s class, the students continue to impress her and shine:
[…] The students impressed me with their creativity. We discussed needs assessment in the community, and I gave them an introduction on how to conduct a focus group. The students then broke off into groups and two students were facilitators, and the rest were members of the focus group. The students were able to learn how to effectively conduct a focus group, as well as some of the challenges. As I am writing, students have been broken into groups and now are creating their own survey. I believe these skills will be useful for the students in their future careers.
Our ethos as an organisation is to focus on building skills, and from these diary entries we see that our staff have encompassed our values. Skills are not taught by lecturing, instead our professors aim to educate through the material, inspire by their stories, and empower through the transferable skills that they give the students.
Our co-founder, Majeks, has also been doing some educating and inspiring while in Freetown both through his workshops, and other public engagements. Most recently, he was invited to speak at an Alternative Dispute Resolution conference.