Shining star: photo of Margret with pupils

Shining star prompts puzzled and positive reactions

Thomas Nkhonjera, field officer with our Malawian partners, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), reports on a “shining star”…

Meet Margret, a teacher at Mzuzu CCAP Primary School in Northern Malawi, who teaches 65 children in her class, including five learners with special educational needs. When the head teacher allocated these five learners to her class, Margret was “filled with fear,” because she felt she lacked both communication techniques and skilled teaching strategies to assist them.

Margret then attended a training session run by the specialist teachers of the Mzuzu Resource Centre, where she was instructed on special needs education with a focus on learners with hearing, visual and physical impairments.

Puzzled and positive reactions

Shining star: photo of children at school in Northern Malawi

After the training, Margret went ahead to deliver the lessons in her class with her newly gained skills. As a result, today, Margret is a shining star in Mzuzu City! This was shown when the area’s Primary Education Advisor (PEA) asked Margret to prepare a lesson to demonstrate her class management skills during a school open day. This is where pupils traditionally demonstrate their talents in activities, including dance, drama and poetry recitals, to parents and community leaders.

Margret’s lesson drew the keen attention of large numbers of the audience. People were puzzled by the way in which she was communicating with the hearing impaired learners and, more so, by the learners’ positive responses. Due to Margret’s teaching presentations during the day, the special needs learners were among the best performers!

She didn’t hide that her good lesson deliveries are the result of the specialist training she received.

Primarily funded by Comic Relief, this training represents just one part of the inclusive education projects being undertaken in the Northern Region of Malawi. These projects aim to challenge negative cultural attitudes towards children with hearing impairments and to ensure that these children have an equal chance to receive a quality and relevant primary education alongside their hearing classmates.

Margret noted that, through the training, she learnt the “task analysis method,” where lesson content is broken down into small teachable units and each learner is assisted according to his or her ability and is manageable even with very large class sizes.

A positive result!

To learn more about Signal’s programme in Malawi and how it is reaching out to and impacting on teachers like Margret and children with special educational needs, click here to read one of our recent project reports.

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