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‎"A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Capacity building for environmental education

Report: Club P.A.N. teacher training session and workshop, Soubré, Ivory Coast (October 24th – 26th, 2008)

Despite the massive success of Club P.A.N. in its first year of operations, we realized that several of our teachers are not well educated in biology and that some capacity building was needed so that they would be better able to teach the Club P.A.N. lessons. To guarantee that the lesson plan and activities we developed could have the utmost impact during the school year, we decided to host training sessions to increase the capacity for environmental education in the Club P.A.N. teachers in Ivory Coast. Funding for this teacher outreach program was obtained from the
Minnesota Zoo. Thus, the second year of Club P.A.N. began with a 3 day workshop for five of the ten Club P.A.N. teachers in Soubré, located on the eastern side of the Taï National Park, Ivory Coast.

The five Club P.A.N. teachers of the eastern side of Taï National Park.

The teachers from the western side of the park will also be involved in a second workshop programmed for December 2008 in Taï village. For logistical reasons it was not possible to bring all the teachers to one location in October, as the western teachers were unable to travel to Soubré for several days as the school year had already begun.

The five Club P.A.N. teachers of the western side of Taï National Park together with Mr. Ouattara the local coordinator of the nature club.

Table 1 outlines the schedule of the October workshop. During this training session, Claudia Borchers, a member of the Max Planck Institute Conservation Group, taught the Club P.A.N. teachers basic biology and environmental education. She used power point presentations with biological definitions and facts combined with games, songs, role-playing activities, movies and poems, to not only educate the teachers, but to also show them how best to interact with the children participating in Club P.A.N.. Special emphasis was placed on pedagogical methods like group-work, science experiments, and outdoor excursions to interact with the natural world.
Claudia Borchers during an excursion with the teachers in Soubré. This excursion was about soil, air and water pollution. Here the participants discuss how the oil from the truck is polluting the soil. The teachers will do this same excursions with the Club P.A.N. students.

Mr. Ouattara & Mr. Guilahoux, the on site coordinators of Club P.A.N. along with Claudia Borchers presented the attendance and evaluation results from the 2007-2008 Club P.A.N. and discussed these results along with how to improve Club P.A.N. for the 2008-2009 school year. Firstly, a detailed teaching schedule was devised by the working group so that Club P.A.N could be planned around the existing curriculum. Secondly, as was done last year, teachers presented practice lessons to each other and afterwards discussed and gave feedback on the presentations. The teachers were incredibly motivated to learn more about biology and ecology and were keenly interested in the nature documentaries and slide shows that were presented. They also greatly enjoyed the games and the experiments which they assured us would be incorporated to a greater degree into the lessons. Everyone agreed that Club P.A.N. should not be like any normal school lessons but highly interactive and fun.

Table 1: Schedule of the September workshop


9am: Opening of the workshop and teacher training by Claudia Borchers, Mr. Ouattara & Mr. Guilahoux, Mr. Douhoure (the primary school inspector) and Col. Tondossama (the director of Taï National Park)
Discuss the first Club P.A.N. year.

* Presentation of results and pitfalls of year 1

Organize the second year of Club P.A.N.:

Present the problems with this years budget shortage

2. Present and develop the 2008-2009 timetable
3. Presentation on the importance of evaluations and how to properly undertake a scientific evaluation
Work on lessons 1-5
Pedagogical methods: games, group-work, experiments, excursions
* Define the key aspects of each lesson
* Reiteration of the most important biological knowledge from each lesson

8:30am: Work on lessons 6-10 Pedagogical methods: games, group-work, experiments, excursions
* Define the key aspects of each lesson
* Reiteration of the most important biological knowledge from each lesson

Discussion: utilization of experiments and games

Organization of parents’ day: how best to get the conservation message out of the schools and into the villages

Preparation of the practice lessons

4:30pm: Watch documentary film about insects


8:30am: Two practice lessons with children and discussion about the pedagogical methods and the content used
2:30pm: Visit to a cane rat farm: School children can learn to raise cane rats as an alternative to bushmeat hunting in the national park

We would like to give our deepest thanks to the Minnesota Zoo for funding this workshop

UPDATE: Club P.A.N. is now featured on the Minnesota Zoo's webpage under their Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program Awards section

1 comment:

Samrakshan-Mizoram said...

pretty interesting ... will look forward to reading more on the capacity buildling programme... all the very best ... nimesh...

we too work on ee...sharing the link ...