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We have introduced the newest learning methods in our school
Monday, 31 March 2014 Written by fra Ivica Perić

We have introduced the newest learning methods in our schoolIn our work with Padri Vjeko VTC students, the emphasis is placed on practical lessons, so that our student can acquire strong, useful skills.

We have been offering programs in six different trades for a number of years now, and our Padri Vjeko VTC graduates display high quality skills as carpenters, tailors, builders, plumbers, welders and electricians.

Although most of the curriculum consists of practical lessons, we also teach theory. In cooperation with volunteers from Canada who have been helping us for years, we have started introducing the newest methods of learning, used in the best schools worldwide, in our school curriculum. Just recently, we introduced ‘interdisciplinary’ learning – workshops consisting of learning programs in small groups.

What does this actually mean?

It means that our students spend a portion of their lessons divided into smaller groups of about eight students from the different disciplines. The focus is on solving practical tasks in which the different trades can contribute from the perspective of their respective fields, with the initiative to solve the problem coming from the students themselves. So you will find future carpenters and builders working together at the same table trying to solve a theoretical problem, while welders and tailors are giving advice to plumbers. The teachers are given the role of moderators: their task is simply to assist the students to reach a joint solution.

This type of learning has proven to be useful in our school in several different ways. First of all, this kind of learning requires the students to “switch on their brains” or – to put it better – it requires them to think with their own minds when faced with a problem, and not to ask the mentor about every single detail. This way, they stop being afraid of the unknown and grow more self-confident in finding solutions by themselves when met with challenges in the workplace.

Besides, this way they also learn how to better understand their colleagues from other sections and by working together, they learn that solutions for problems in their own profession can be found in other professions as well.

As well, this improves socialization in the school, because it gives the students an opportunity to get to know colleagues from other sections and spend part of the school time with them.

Of course, those in charge of introducing this innovative method are the teachers themselves. They are largely responsible for fulfilling the goal set before them: high quality education and good vocational training skills for their students.

That is precisely why we spend so much time working with our teachers to improve their teaching methods. Our friends from Europe and Canada have been helping us a great deal with this. Experienced educators themselves, they have been teaching our teachers how to best transfer their knowledge and skill to their students. We are most grateful to the volunteers who have selflessly given us this assistance. On two occasions we have also sent a number of our teachers to spend some time in Canada, to improve their teaching techniques, as well as their own education and skills. And then, when they return, they are able to share that knowledge with the other teachers at our school.

Rwanda is a poor country and its educational system lags behind wealthier and more developed countries. Regardless of this, we work very hard to improve ourselves and keep pace with world’s trends and innovations, which we try to apply in our vocational school. This way, we hope to provide our students with quality education and knowledge, so that their skills can even rival those obtained in schools from wealthier and more developed countries.

Translated by Branimir Mlakić
Edited by Valerie Kae Ken

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