Taking a break from teaching (which is going well, aside from the fact that I’m suddenly the only physics teacher in my school… long story) to attend a conference on HIV/AIDS in Moshi. The conference was super informative, and gave me and another teacher from my school who came as well many ideas on how we can incorporate AIDS education into our school activities. I’m also enjoying the tourist life, western style restaurants complete with pizza and hopefully a hamburger later today, a grocery store where I bought pickles and green olives and raisins, and seeing all the other volunteers in the surrounding regions and catching up on life.

Ok, so this blog isn’t horribly informative on anything other than what you can do in Moshi when you got a week and some money to spend because you never spend anything in the bush. Onto real topics, my favorite of course being the education system in TZ.

Getting to talk with other PCVs and see what all they have been dealing with as far as school life has been interesting. I think most of us can say that we are conflicted by the difference in education systems. Here is a system that seems to choose a very poor foundation and method to teaching subjects such as science and math. I think the idea is that each year the students will build on the subject matter they learned the year before, however this doesn’t actually seem to work well. The students focus on memorization, don’t learn critical thinking skills, and rarely study anything creative. And of course they are all learning for tests that determine whether or not they will be able to continue with school. So do we teach them so they can pass the test, or do we teach them a curriculum that makes sense to us from our American education point of view? Does the ability to problem solve and think critically matter if you can’t move forward in your education system?

Ok, back to the trivial stuff. I’m wearing jeans and pretty tan, and I got a stack of old news weeks to read to catch up on America land, and there is a beautiful view of mt. kilimanjaro over the swimming pool at the YMCA we’re staying at. Life is good yo.

Comments: 1 Comment

One Comment on “Moshiii”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Clare

    Your comments on the “on students memorizing, but not understanding” method of learning reminds me of the great physicist, Richard Feynman reflecting on education in South America, which he got deeply involved in. Even graduate students were found to blather out equations from memory, but have no sense as to what the reality was that they were based on.

    Feynman was always at odds (and part of) bureaucracy. He was involved with choosing science text books for California schools and found to his dismay that many members of the choosing committee never actually looked at the books they voted for incorporation into the curriculum.

    He somehow got pulled into a very high level government committee that investigated the Challenger space vehicle launch disaster. The govt. overseers were astounded (as were most of Feynman’s fellow committee members) that he actually expected the committee to visit the launch site and manufacturing sites and do experiments to find out what happened to the space vehicle. Ultimately he got his way and determined that an o-ring had not been tested at the low launch temperature that the vehicle experienced. (Actually an unnamed engineer got the info to Feynman, bypassing his management.) Feynman was really upset at the gap between the NASA management and the engineers in assessing the level of risk for a launch vehicle and its components.

    Feynman was brilliant physicist, a gadfly, an artist and musician. If you are looking for an interesting easy read, I’ll get you a copy of his partial biography, “Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feynman”.

    Best wishes, Larry Clemens


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