Another weekly update from you know who.
afternoon went for my usual Friday afternoon teaching session
at a Arabic speaking "Club" near-by. I'm really encouraged by
the way that the numbers of children are increasing but this sometimes
brings additional problems. I was warned this morning about what
happened last week when three children from a background not used
to this kind of thing appeared and were quite disruptive. I wasn't
there that week so I wondered what I was going to let myself in
thing to remember about Egyptian schools is that there is a lot
of discipline and much of the teaching is done by rote, there
is little emphasis on understanding. The teachers don't use creative
methods at all. When the children go into school "mode" it means
"Sit down, shut up and listen". They bring this mentality with
them to the club so there is hardly any disruption. I've been
amazed at their attention span- even after more than half an hour
of non-stop talking from Egyptian teachers the children are still
listening intently and responding well to questions (this is true
for even the 5 - 7 year-old age range!)
three boys causing disruption were Egyptians attending the International
American school here in Cairo. Here the philosophy of teaching
seems to be "Do what you like, as long as you don't hurt anybody"
ie there seems to be very liberal views on discipline and morality.
All of the children come from rich families (you can tell by the
school fees) and many of them are used to getting everything that
I arrived at the club (after an intense session of "petition"
during my walk there) I was greeted by the three boys in question.
They decided that the singing during the first half of the time
was boring so they went off to do something else and to wait for
me to come. (They had heard about me from the other children).
Since they spoke English (the teaching language at the school)
I was able to talk to them directly which was a great relief.
Overall I found that they were just like normal children from
a "non-club" background in Britain. I made friends with them easily
and they agreed to let me get set-up and listen during the teaching.
teaching session went really well. I only had to speak to the
boys twice at the beginning of the lesson about shouting out questions
and after that they listen throughout. I did a sketchboard message
about Peter and the way he had changed after the HS came on him.
They really like the magic tricks and they even asked me to go
along to their school and do the same kind of thing! (I doubt
they would have me!)
Egyptian club leaders informed me how much better they listened
this time. The truth of the matter is that they are no worse than
most English children but by Egyptian standards this is too disruptive!
I mentioned that I was like this too up to the age of 15, I'd
go along to these kinds of clubs and cause disruption but now
I know what it is like to be on the receiving end . . . but at
least I know from experience about how they think.
join with us to "think" about these children- it took me over
2 years to change but I hope that it will be much quicker with
them. From now on I know that I cannot take the children's attention
for granted as I did before, I have to strive to keep everything
relevant and interesting. This is how I would have to do it back
in Britian anyway but here I've become lazy, spoilt on the main
part by well behaved children with an incredible attention span.
of the remainder of this week has been taken up with upgrading
my computer and dealing with the resulting problems. Some more
work has come from London for me so I will be busy with this for
much of the coming weeks.
help at a local school continues to be appreciated. She has dropped
the number of hours that she helps and is now just helping with
training a new teacher. Hannah continues to charm and impress
the people that she meets.
hope to have some more news about our house soon, we MAY have
found a Korean couple who are interested but we'll need to see.
If this is the case I'd like to help them out as much as possible.
Please could you ask Mike Rogers about our Fiat. If he hasn't
sold it yet could he hold onto it for now to give it to the Koreans
if they come . . . this is assuming that it is still road-worthy!
be writing again soon with another update . . .
Alison and Hannah
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