Engaging Teacher, Engaged Students

A few weeks back, our team had the pleasure of visiting a Primary 1 class at G.S. Nyakiliba, for a lesson observation in Teacher Esther’s classroom. While Esther led a Kinyarwanda lesson, we sat with Ladislas, a Quality Education Specialist & Team Leader, as he observed, took notes, and shared with us what was going on. Despite not fully understanding the lesson, which was taught entirely in Kinyarwanda, it was amazing to watch the teacher, the classroom dynamics, and the real live application of Wellspring’s trademark teaching techniques.

At the start of class, Esther had students turn to their bench-mates to discuss classroom rules. As students talked, she drew a scoring system on the chalkboard to assign points to the class for their positive behaviour, engagement, and involvement. It was clear that her students were excited to learn. They knew that their teacher would encourage and engage them every step of the way.

Engaging Teacher, Engaged Students

Turning to her rice-sack teaching aid, she guided the primary students through the Kinyarwanda consonant pairings, written in big, bold letters for every student to see. But she didn’t stop there! Throughout the lesson, she taught in a variety of ways to accommodate every student’s learning style—she incorporated pictures, wrote on the chalkboard, had children recite, invited students to engage together with textbook activities, and asked them to discuss in small groups. In fact, at many points of the lesson, she had the kids engage in small group discussion, and it was so clear that this made a massive difference in terms of student engagement. Students couldn’t just sit on the sidelines! Every child was involved, and each one had something to share.

Putting Wellspring Training into Practice

As she taught students the Kinyarwanda consonant pairing “mb”, she pulled out a drawing of a bird that had this pairing in its name. Using it as a practical example for students to see and practice the sound of the letters paired together, she went on to share about the importance of caring for these rare and unique birds—wrapping up literacy, science, and environmental care all in one lesson, and incorporating Wellspring’s focus on values-integration in lessons.

At the end of class, she recapped the lesson and asked the kids what they had learned. She was focused not just on teaching but also on ensuring that her students have absorbed it all. When the kids shared their feedback with her, she responded with absolute delight!

An Impact for Years to Come

Despite the language difference that hindered us from fully understanding the lesson and the nuance of her leadership, we felt her warmth and love of teaching and watched her students enthusiastically engage with their learning, because of her. Not only did students love to learn, but they clearly loved their teacher! The atmosphere that Esther is creating in her classroom—and that is evident throughout Nyakiliba School—is one where every student who enters the school doors at the beginning of the year will leave with their potential unlocked, character developed, and love of learning ignited. As the teachers and leaders at G.S. Nyakiliba continue to integrate and apply Wellspring’s tools and techniques and develop warm and engaging classrooms, the impact will have ripple effects for generations to come.