Trainee teachers shine with excellence

After an early bedtime and a good night’s rest, today was our first day in the field. We were so excited and curious about what we were going to see and experience. In the morning, we visited two early childhood development (ECD) centres. In the afternoon we were welcomed at the Chiladzulu Teacher Training College.

A big issue in Malawi is ensuring primary education. With a population that is 50% children, there is a huge demand for teachers and school facilities. The Chiladzulu Teacher Training College (TTC) opened in 2015. UNICEF supported the construction and this TTC serves now as a role model for child friendly education. Student teachers come here for a two-year programme, after which they are certified teachers and will be employed. They live on campus and get practical teaching experience in a school nearby.

Classroom in TTC, by Norbin Mayor
Classroom in TTC, by Norbin Mayor

When we arrived, we were welcomed by the principal and lecturers in very formal manner. We then had the chance to attend a class and see their way of teaching. The class started with a song, call and response. So great, clapping hands and singing! It really changes the atmosphere. And the lyrics of the song introduced the topic for the class: how to stop population growth. What a wonderful teaching method—and who knows? Maybe this is something we can take home and learn, that singing and moving is motivating and uplifting. Also in the morning, teachers were singing and it was great to see, that it never stops.

A highlight for them, and also for us, was the computer lab. They have two computer rooms and students learn basic IT skills. We were all invited to sit next to a student and they showed us how they can type a weekly teaching schedule in a Word document. One student, Sarah, explained to me that it was her first time using a computer when she arrived at the TTC one year ago, meaning when she was 19 years old. And now she is able to type, receive emails and search for information on the internet. Wow!

Sarah writing her teaching schedule, by Annetta Redmann
Sarah writing her teaching schedule, by Annetta Redmann

Our campus tour included seeing the dorms, sanitary facilities, library and sports field. The students also showed us their materials to teach science, religion and life skills among other subjects. It is impressive how creative they are, to make everything out of so few resources.

Walking tour selfie, by Michelle Stirnimann
Walking tour selfie, by Michelle Stirnimann

During the entire day we continuously met so many open-hearted, friendly people. It is a great honour for us to be here and witness the changes that can be made by investing in education. This TTC facility is amazing and students so motivated and eager to learn.Shine with excellence is the slogan of the TTC. We are sure that these teachers will shine and play an essential role in creating more child friendly education in Malawi!

Sunset drive home by Annetta Redmann
Sunset drive home by Annetta Redmann