Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Art for Art's Sake

As my adopted school has 2 of its 6 teachers on Maternity Leave and there is no system of “Supply Cover” in Ghana, I’m quite busy in the classroom lately. It is rather nice to think my career has come right back round and finds me being a classteacher again.

P3 are a nice bunch of kids who are getting used to me and more importantly, my English, which sounds different to theirs. I have taught a few impromptu lessons across the curriculum but draw a line at Dagaare. It would be interesting to see what they could teach me though.

My last lesson was Creative Arts and as you can imagine by now, there were no resources at all. The objective was to explore textures through wax crayon rubbings.  I borrowed 2 packs of crayons from the Kindergarten, found 6 assorted pairs of scissors around the house and took some paper I had bought for printing. I woke in the middle of the night in a panic as I realised my plan involved glue and we didn’t have any. I need not have worried, as a child was dispatched to fetch a bunch of glue berries. I had completely forgotten about those!

Eventually, I worked with about 60 children, from P2 and 3, who grasped the concept of making a rubbing and most of whom managed to manipulate scissors, possibly for the first time. We had all cut out butterflies and stuck them on leaves by the end of the day. I appreciate this effort would not even rate as “satisfactory” in front of an OFSTED Inspector. However, we had the time of our lives due to the excitement of the children discovering the delight of creating something.  Some succeeded in sticking them to the walls on display whilst most waved them proudly on the way home. What fun!

“Sustainability” is considered crucial to the work of VSO volunteers. Unfortunately, most of what we achieve is unlikely to be sustained. In the future, however, 60 children may remember they had fun this day and learned from that. I am hoping to find ways to provide some basic materials to resource more Creative Arts and other curricular experiences for children.  At least we are enjoying ourselves and some of them cannot say that as often as they deserve.

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