February 17, 2012

Dalton development in Senegal 2

Here the second part from the report of Annette Hooijmeijer
and Caitlin Stoop who worked some months at the new Dalton
school in Dakar.

When we arrived at Espérance Laique there was something going on. Four new teachers without any knowledge of the Dalton principles were teaching at Esperance Laique. Instead of our plan to implement the weekly task, we started at the very first beginning by explaining the Dalton principles. The explanations of the principles were offered every Friday in a Dalton training. After the first explanation, we used a needsassessment to know which principle the teachers really wanted to implement in class. The needsassessment resulted in the principle self-reliance.
During the Dalton meeting we arranged together with the teachers a day where we painted time-timers and traffic lights on the blackboard. The teacher could use the time-timer to indicate the children how much time there was left to finish their work. For example: The teacher indicates that the children can work independently on their history assignment for twenty minutes. After each five minutes the teacher colors a part of five minutes on the time-timer, so the children can see how much time there is left to finish their assignment.
The traffic light indicates if the children had to work individual (red color), together (yellow color) or with the whole class (green color). We used a different approach, however the objective to work on effective apprenticeship and that children are able to help each other without the help of the teacher, is achieved. Other objectives that are reached are to make the four new teachers of Espérance Laique familiar with the three principles of Dalton and that they can implement these three principles in their education.

The teachers also created own ideas, like madame Sy of CE1. She incorporated all three Dalton principles in a reading assignment. She said: ‘Co-operation, children can help each other with reading. Freedom, the child is responsible to control if the reader is reading the text correctly. Self-reliance, when the child can read a text independently.’

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