About 100 primary and secondary school teachers last weekend completed a two-week training on applying arts, theater and drama in education and improvement of the new Rwanda education curriculum.
The teachers say the methodology help deliver their lessonsbecause it motivatesthe class and that it has equipped them with skills in solving conflicts.
The a programme was introduced by Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP), a project founded in 2018 to promote peace education in form of theater, drama, and art through primary and secondary schools. It is hosted by Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), in partnership with Rwanda Education Board.
The teachers are from five districts; Rwamagana, Huye, Gicumbi, Rubavu and Kicukiro.
Teachers act in a play during the training camp that took place early this month. Courtesy photos.
Wivine Ugirumurera, teacher at Umubano Academy, Kicukiro District in Kigali City, said; “I found that the MAP was designed to support the new curriculum, unlike the old curriculum where a teacher would only stand before students and speak endlessly and the students listened without their involvement”.
The new Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) demands that students be the major players in their learning process and the teacher to be there as a ‘facilitator’.
“I am certain that if teachers use it, students will start loving school more,” she sai, adding that cases of school dropouts might reduce.
“I have acquired a lot of experience that will help not only my professional development, but also my daily life,” said Boniface Biranteye, a teacher at Groupe Scolaire du Bon Conseil Byumba, Gicumbi District in Northern Province.
Considering how the programme teaches one to be creative and innovative, Biranteye said “MAP should be integrated in CBC as a tool of making the curriculum more successful.”
Jean de Dieu Ndibwiyunkunze, teacher at Meshero Primary School, in Rukomo Sector in Gicumbi District, declared: “We learned about conflict prevention strategies, and indeed, this is natural in the world we live in. MAP came at the right time”.
The first to benefit from the project were teachers from Rwamagana District last year. This year they returned as ‘master trainers’ for their fellow teachers.
Jean Marie Vianney Ntawirema, language teacher at Rwamagana Leaders School, is one of them.
“I use many games in my classes, which helps my students and I to be motivated tirelessly. I have learned how the trained students have developed their public speaking, critical thinking as well as academic success,” he said.
“This project should be expanded in all schools,” he recommended.
Now every province has schools in one district that will help to train other districts. They are five schools in every district; one primary school, a school under twelve years basic education programme (day scholars), a boarding school, a TVET school and an NGO or church-based school.
Besides, the educators are given manuals that contain all activities for MAP methodology.
Gisele Sandrine Irakoze, MAP Assistant Project Coordinator, said that the selected teachers are trained during the second term break, while the third term break is youth training camp for the students. Clubs at the schools once they get back are also created.
During the youth camp, some cultural artists are invited to train them on the three subjects.
In the recent training, they created a traditional musical instrument known as Umuduri and learnt to play it. They also have Kwetu Films as a partner, she stated.
“It is not arts, drama or dance as such. It is much more of a body-soul connection and activities that create trust and deeper connection between two or more people,” Irakoze observed.
“The students are willing to participate, since they are the ones to lead the club and run activities with their teachers,” she added.
The Director General of Rwanda Education Board, Dr Irénée Ndayambaje, told The New Times that the quality education should involve ways that could not tire or bore the students.
“Academically, there is what we call ‘edutainment’, which means education through entertainment. You will find it mostly in one year and one year and half old children; when they pretend not to want to eat, and once you play with them, play some song, they eventually eat,” he said.
“Using simulation and sketches, is a way not used just in Rwanda, it is but recommended in education, it is the best way children can learn; no matter if children are tired or are not interested in the lesson, ‘edutainment’ is a good technique”.