Jeff and Sylvia, August 2011

Visit to Native Upper School August 2011

The purposes of our visit to the school were to:

  • see how the new building had been developed since its opening last August
  • support teacher development
  • give ideas for developing the quality of teaching and learning
  • develop the teacher’s and pupil’s skills in speaking English
  • understand the wider context of education for children in the area
  • review and advise on the development of the next phase of the building

After being warmly greeted and garlanded with flowers and petal confetti when we arrived at 5.30 on a Saturday we returned back to the school on Monday to celebrate Indian Independence Day with the children, staff and some parents. The children were thrilled to receive their new school uniforms, including shoes and socks. They also enjoyed demonstrating some games they had learned and joining in new games using the equipment we had taken with us.

We had the privilege of visiting the local high school to which most of the pupils transfer at the age of 12 and also meeting with the Education Officer in charge of the Mandal – an area within the district. He took us to see another primary school. Because we were from Europe, he had arranged that the press would cover the visit. The following day we were featured in three local newspapers – all Telugu.

Much of the second phase of the building had been developed. The external shell was constructed and during our stay the flooring was laid to each of the four rooms – kitchen, office, classroom and dining area. Our visit was very timely as Sara was able to give valuable advice on improvements to the positioning and height of an internal wall and layout of kitchen and dining area.

The super equipment that had been provided for the school in previous visits had been safely stored and kept in locked cupboards. We were able to explain to the teachers that the resources should be made available to the teachers and pupils and that the rooms should not become cluttered. To support this, Frances arranged for shelving units to be bought for each room onto which she set out suitable equipment for each class. Display boards for each room were also purchased and installed during the visit to exhibit pupils’ work. The pupils were very excited to see their pictures making their rooms more attractive.

The five teachers were enthusiastic in their work and welcomed the visit. After school we were able to meet with them and introduce English phonics in order to support them in the correct pronunciation of words. We discussed different strategies for teaching that would enable the pupils to think and be involved more deeply in their learning. We also talked about whole school strategies that would give the pupils a greater sense of community and responsibility for their school.

To support this we introduced 6 Golden Rules for everyone involved in the school. In an assembly each morning these were illustrated with a story and the children were encouraged when they were noticed keeping them at different points in the day.

It was great fun to teach the children several of the phonics in the next few days. Some classes were doubled up to make the teaching more efficient. The teachers appreciated seeing us at work with the children and asked for our guidance when they were teaching these new, strange sounds.

The culmination of our visit was the parents’ day, when Edgar had invited the parents to bring some food to share at lunch time. A large number of mums, dads, college and high school students came to share in this special time. The children sang and Edgar spoke God’s goodness in providing for the changes that had taken place in the school that would benefit the children.

We were very grateful for the drivers (who accomplished so much more than driving) the team of ladies who prepared our meals, translators, the support of the administrative staff of NATIVE and Edgar and Mohan who had worked hard to make our visit so positive and safe. We learned so much in this visit and pray that the benefits will be God honouring in the lives of these delightful children.