Monday, June 22, 2015

Progress Happens when Educators stop looking down their nose at education in Africa and start learning with them.

ECM 153: Noble Kelly and Education Beyond Borders show how working together changes things.

Many teachers in isolated African villages struggle to stay motivated. We cringe when fellow teachers (and their students) have to work in hard conditions. But looking down on those who struggle is NOT the answer. We all struggle. Most teachers I know teach in hard conditions. Joining together as teachers is part of the answer.

"Isolated educators don't have a lack of knowledge, but a lack of access to best practices, resources, and each other." Noble Kelley

“Isolated educators don’t have a lack of knowledge, but a lack of access to best practices, resources, and each other,” says Noble Kelly. Noble is the founder of an organization working to end isolation, for a least a few of these schools. Teachers who volunteer for Education Beyond Borders raise money. These heroes spend their personal time helping other teachers. While Education Beyond Borders works in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, there are growing opportunities for educators to help throughout the world.

Listen on iTunes

Listen to this show online: (11 min 45 sec)

Sharon Brown-Peters, one of the first people I “met” online, first told me about Education Beyond Borders. I admire her work in Mozambique and the hard questions she kept asking about education. (She is now at ASB in Mumbai, India – one of the most impressive schools I’ve ever visited.)

According to the Education Beyond Borders website, at 59 million teachers, we are the single largest group of trained professionals in the world. However, we need 30 million more trained teachers to reach every child on the planet with an education. When we educate teachers, we help children. When we encourage teachers, we help children. As teachers, we believe in the power of our profession. If we’re going to help it improve, that responsibility is on our shoulders. Not every place in the world has money to train teachers. Sometimes, they get whoever they can to “teach”. Other times, teachers struggle with the isolation.

Teachers are an incredible resource for each other. Embedded in this show are some great truths we can all learn as we work to help our colleagues who work in isolated places. It starts with respect and working together – not arrogance or pity or self-righteous ‘helpfulness.’

Important Take Aways from Episode 153

  • Follow Noble Kelly @noblekelly
  • Noble gives some essential points for service learning projects. If you plan such projects, you should listen to his advice.
  • Because so many non-working “junk” computers are “gifted” to poor schools, the cell phone is being seen as a key to improving education in remote areas. (See the 2014 GESF Panel where we discussed mobile phones in rural areas for ideas.)
  • As a teacher, there are organizations that need your expertise. Volunteer your time to help other teachers and learn with them.
  • As teachers, we need each other. We need ideas. We need encouragement. We need to feel that we are not alone. Because of discouragement, Noble says teacher absenteeism is a big problem in many remote places. (As USA Today reports, this is a growing problem in the US as well.)
  • Take the time to volunteer your time. As I searched, I found one example of Mission Trip finders for teachers. Many charitable organizations have unique needs for teachers. So if you want to help – tell your favorite charitable service organization that you’re a teacher and let them know your skillset. For my North American friends, take the time to call this summer so you can plan for next year.
I just got the stats! Every Classroom Matters is running 65,000 downloads a month now (up from 50,000!) I appreciate those of you sharing the show. A huge thanks goes to the amazing guests who so freely share their best practices, enthusiasm, and talents with all of us. BAM Radio, Errol St. Clair Smith and Jeannette rock the production of this show as does our trusty production coordinator, Lisa Durff. But without listeners, the show can’t go on. I want to give a shout out to Kaitee Monkey on iTunes for the kind review. Sorry I haven’t thanked you sooner!
ECM-review-Kaitee monkey

TIP: When you review your favorite podcasts, iTunes uses this as feedback to determine which shows they will feature and recommend to others. I appreciate those who take time to review and rate my show. If you give me your twitter handle in the review, I’ll share that out too! Thanks!

The post Progress Happens when Educators stop looking down their nose at education in Africa and start learning with them. appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

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