Friday, 16 August 2013

Texas State Teaching Students Volunteer in Chintsa

The TSU volunteer teaching team on Cintsa beach
Three weeks; ten teachers; four projects; two schools. And only three to four contact hours for each group per week! But the creation of fantastic digital stories and poems using Microsoft Powerpoint were achieved at both Bulugha and Chintsa East School, with the help of Texas State University.

For the second year running Lori Assaf, associate professor at TSU, brought with her a group of eight enthusiastic teaching students all the way from Texas, to work with the VA32 Wild Coast Schools Project in Chintsa. The students are in the midst of honing their teaching skills and as a part of their Cultural Embrace module they visited our lovely community to undertake a large project at the Wild Coast Schools Projects two main schools.
Basketball with the kids from Chintsa
The group also included Lori’s assistant Rachel (who was a teaching student in last years’ group) and her fifteen year old daughter Cali! The students days were jam packed with lessons not only with the learners, but also continued reading and lectures of their own studies in the evenings. They also managed to fit in some visits to our afternoon initiative; highlights included Amanda’s basketball session at the Sports Development Project, Rachel’s story reading at Greensleeves Orphanage Project and our inter-volunteer sports tournament on the beach!

So, what exactly did these guys get up to at the schools? Our scheme of work this term is My School Environment. Tying into this, TSU focused their work initially on the children’s life stories within the community that they live. The learners drew maps of where they live before they started to explore stories about different places in their village that had meaning to them; from going to church with their family, to surfing on the beach. Grades 6 and 7 took their work further by writing their stories down, and then typing it into Powerpoint. If making the presentation snazzy with special colour and animation effects wasn’t enough, the students’ stories were also recorded as they read them out and played over their favourite music to complete the presentations.
Rachel reading with the children at the orphanage

Here is an extract of a Bulugha student’s story:

My first day at church by Nwabisa Boneli

“The first time I went to church, I was so scared. After I went to church, I went to the play ground and I saw other children and they didn’t want to play with me. I wanted to make them understand me but they didn’t want too.  

I told my mother the children at church didn’t want to play with me. My mother told me “Please my child go to Church again” and I didn’t say anything to my mother.

The next time I went to Church the girls were calling me. I walked up to her and the girls asked me, ‘Do you want to play with us?’
The learners of Bulugha in a computer lesson being run by
TSU teaching volunteers
Another learner, Sibusiso in grade 7, did a presentation about soccer - here it is below (unfortunately the sound was a bit distorted when altering the file type from a presentation to a movie):

Grades 4 and 5 focused their work on a poem of two voices. The students worked in pairs to write and share information about each other. It’s a bit tricky to explain, so have a gander at how Patrick and Thina worked out their poem at Chintsa East school:

First voice
Second voice
Third voice
I am Patrick
I am Thina
We are students
I am excited
I am happy

I live in a house
I live in South Africa
We live in Chintsa
I wonder if my brother is doing well at work
I wonder if my brother is at work or at school
We wonder about other people
I worry about my mother
I worry about my family getting sick

I celebrate boxing
I celebrate school
We celebrate friends
I believe in my mother
I believe in god

I dream of being a pilot
I dream of having a family
We believe in xhosa
I am Patrick
I am Thina
We are students

And here's the presentation itself:

Once they had written the poems, they wrote and recorded their presentation which is no mean feat, as it usually takes a long time for our learners to finish a Powerpoint presentation project!

The TSU team in Bulugha School lab :)
At the end of their three weeks with the TSU volunteer teachers, both schools were able to watch each other’s work in front of everybody. Their work was celebrated with two fantastic concerts at Bulugha and Chintsa East Schools. Not only was brilliant work achieved, but beautiful relationships formed with the students and the teachers.

Charlotte, VA32 Volunteer Co-ordinator

To find out more about the Wild Coast Schools Project, which is always in need of enthusiastic volunteers, visit the VA32 website at or email

No comments:

Post a Comment