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Patile akantu. Kaikele ngefifine twikele…
(Once upon a time there was a thing, which sat just the way we are seated…)

This story about celebrating Zambia’s culture was made up in a training on the development of low cost teaching and learning materials. The story helped to demonstrate how different teaching and learning materials for different learning areas could be integrated in a project. The training was facilitated by Bibian Kalinde Nzili of the University of Zambia in collaboration with Mr Banda, a local ‘educational’ artist, MESVTEE and VVOB. Thirty eight lecturers in Early Childhood Education of six colleges attended the training from 1st to 3rd of September in Livingstone.

Getting started

It all started with the VVOB team collecting a lot of locally available resources. The pickup was loaded with toilet rolls, bottle tops, empty bottles, cardboard, maize bags etc. In Livingstone we offloaded the whole bunch on a display table, for the lecturers to use in the workshop.

The workshop started with addressing ‘attitude’ towards development of teaching and learning materials. The facilitators moved a motion ‘why lecturers are not creative’. This led to an interesting debate about whether they are not passionate enough, just lacking time or just don’t want to get out of the box and teach in a different way. Some reflected very openly and realised that this was not fair to their students.

Later on some theory was given on how to make the transfer of learning between teacher training and Early Childhood Education (ECE) content, so that teaching and learning materials that are developed demonstrate the right example for ECE level as well (see the Step and Link Model in the below images).

Experimentation to stimulate creativity

Lecturers were motivated by a flow of creativity from the educational artist Mr Banda. He showed just how many beautiful things one can make using paper. The most beautiful decorations were created within seconds. He also demonstrated how to make paper and the importance of experimenting to stimulate creativity, versus teaching through a step-by-step approach.

Lecturers spent one day practicing mostly how to make college related teaching and learning materials for teaching student teachers. However they had to make use of one of the ‘ECE learning areas’ to make the material, so that the link between college content and ECE content could become clear. That turned out to be quite a difficult exercise for some, but not for other groups that were very creative.

Resulting teaching and learning materials

On the last day a big project started, as mentioned earlier, in which all learning areas contributed to a single project on valuing Zambian culture and developed low cost teaching and learning materials that all contributed to the same story. In the pictures you'll see how lecturers learnt to make a wide variety of materials. The last day even students were involved, so that lecturers could listen to their points of view and to contribute to improving the relationship between students and lecturers.

Just a selection of some of the things that were made that resulted in a big production around the ‘Umushi Wa Bantu’ story: a talking sock doll, car toys, mini huts, Mr Potato, mobiles, flexi flan figures, toilet roll dolls, a ‘geo shape board’ (see picture above), wall displays, drums, rattles, costumes, brooms, baskets, animal pictures and big walking letters. In the reflection we discussed with the student teachers and lecturers how a project like this could be implemented at college and ECE centre level by making it a project that runs over a whole term.

Bring out the creativity!

We hope to see a lot more of it when we visit the colleges.