Yesterday was so busy, I had no time to write a blog. In the morning I was with the school teachers here at the local school. I taught them the difference between diagnostic, formative and summative assessment and helped them to complete an exercise of writing a rubric. I was planning to go on to talk about how they can use the assessment data they collect to inform and direct their teaching, but because my talk was being simultaneously translated into Hindi it took longer than anticipated, so that part is saved for the next session.
These teachers are not only doing an amazing job of teaching with minimal training, they are also succeeding in making bricks without straw, as their sparse classrooms lack any of the teaching aids we take for granted in the UK. (That’s my laptop on the desk!) It has been a challenge to design fun and interesting plenaries for their lessons, when at home we are so used to being able to call on technology to make lessons interactive. If you have students whose understanding is enhanced when text is supported by pictures, it’s so easy to find a picture to copy and paste into your presentation for the interactive white board – but so much more of a challenge when all your writing is done by hand on an old fashioned board. Nonetheless, there is children’s work on display on the walls, and educational posters – they are using every means at their disposal to further the children’s learning. I didn’t photograph the whole classroom where I led my session as I didn’t want to plaster the teachers’ photos over the internet! But these two pictures are opposite corners of the classroom, and they give some idea.
Then in the afternoon I completed the preparation of my presentation on teaching disabled children, which will be a 2 hour workshop at the teachers’ conference next Thursday, and spent the rest of the day on a presentation on teaching ethics, for the same occasion. Having taught ethical theory for such a long time, I’ve found I had to work quite hard, and think differently from how I am accustomed, to make the talk less theoretical and more practical. It’s a little different in India from in England. In English schools you aren’t allowed to tell students what they should believe; you simply show them what different moral philosophers have said, and help them to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the different theories, then leave them to make up their own minds what they believe. But here they want me to show how we can aid the moral formation of our students and instil good ethical principles into them, so it requires a different approach and has taken me a while to prepare. At the same time, I can’t do what I’d really like to do, which is to tell them to abandon all the theories of all the moral philosophers because right living is all about being led by the Spirit of God. I am not allowed to have any Christian bias in what I say, so I’ve drawn from a variety of faiths and religious traditions to illustrate my presentation.
This morning I have stayed home alone because tonight I’m giving my talk on the risks and addictive nature of pornography, and it’s such a sensitive subject, I feel the need to cover myself in prayer, and so I’m just going to have a quiet morning here in the presence of God. Those of my readers who pray, please pray that I will be able not just to talk but really to lead these ladies to the One who sets captives free, and who answers their innermost questions (Am I loved? Am I beautiful?) with yes, you are my precious, loved and beautiful daughter, and if you come to Me I will become in you a well of living water springing up to eternal life.
The French knitting carries on apace, and the girls have really got the hang of it now. They are carrying on without any help from me, and are amazingly fast. One enterprising young lady decided she wanted her mat to be an oval, not a circle, and has started sewing it in a contrast colour, to very pretty effect.