Connecting Classrooms - Kenya Visit - February 2013

As part of Arthur Mellows plan to bring in an international dimension into school life, we have recently been able to set up links with schools in Kenya and Sudan; exciting times.
 This has been something which Arthur Mellows has been hoping would be possible for around a year.  However, recently all the plans have slotted into place and we were able to visit Kenya in February half term. We had just enough time to get prepared and with us took presents, videos of lessons and textbooks donated by teachers in the College.  We also received lots of gifts from students and staff including football shirts, stickers and stationery, which the Kenyan students absolutely loved. Thank you for your support!
The British Council led project, that Arthur Mellows is now part of, is called ‘Connecting Classrooms’ and aims to help share best teaching and learning practices with schools in Kenya and Sudan. Hopefully this will help us to develop an understanding of the cultures in these countries and the similarities that we have.
 We left England on Thursday 7 February and after a lengthy couple of flights, arrived in Kenya.  After a night in the bustling capital, Nairobi, we travelled through the beautiful Great Rift Valley to our next destination.  We spent 2 days visiting the Masai  Mara National Park where we saw many animals in their natural environment including elephants, lions, cheetahs and hippos. We were invited into one of the Masai villages where they showed us traditional dances and songs and shared many of their traditions with us. They welcomed us into their homes with huge smiles - this was a unique insight to this ancient tribe’s life. It was extremely hot for us, about 28 degrees; many of the locals however found this weather quite cool.
On Monday we had a fantastic day as we were finally able to meet our partner school in Molo, East Kenya.  The school called Mianzini Secondary, has 500 students and is situated in a rural setting. Many students come to school from surrounding villages and the majority of the locals work in agriculture; farming maize and peas. We were given the opportunity to spend 4 days with our school, watching lessons being taught and also teaching music and geography lessons whilst we were there.  This was a great opportunity to share with other teachers our different styles of teaching in England and the students were all very responsive.  
We felt truly humbled during our time at the school; despite the classrooms being extremely basic and the teaching resources being very limited, we were welcomed with bundles of warmth and happiness, something that will stay with us for a long, long time.
This project is just beginning! Over the next few months we will start to work on projects focusing on healthy living, environmental issues and exploring global issues through the arts! All of these projects will be carried out by students here in Arthur Mellows, as well as in Sudan and Kenya.
Excitingly… we are looking forward to a visit from our partner schools later in the year and hope that they will bring students with them. Our aim is to take a small number of students to Kenya in 2014 to visit the school.  In the meantime, we plan to have a Skype day with students in Kenya and Sudan and will keep you posted with all developments of this exciting project.  Keep your eyes peeled and we hope that you will be able to support the project and maybe even visit Kenya in the future.
By Mrs Gray, Music Teacher and Miss Banks, Geography Teacher