Through the Embassy of France and the « Alliance française », we get in touch with the owner of "D’avenir School", a little school of Dire Dawa, 450 km east of Addis Ababa. Here, are welcome children from 3 years old (Kindergarten) to 14 years old (Primary School).
After the experience in public school (link to article) and with the children of the Amra Amba community (link), the « Effet Libellule » is now putting its teaching suitcase in a private school. At first glance, it looks like the public school: for all teaching materials, teachers have chalk and a blackboard, the children wear all uniform and the day begins with the raising of the flag. The big difference is the number of students: 15 students per class and even 6 students for grade 6 (CM2 in France).
For the « Libellule day », children in grades 4, 5 and 6 are gathered in one class. So with 37 students we begin to question what surrounds us. We are quickly surprised and happy to see that many of them understand English quite well and that the Ethics Teacher complements us well by translating into Amharic for the youngest. As soon as we take into account the context and local lifestyles - starting with waste collection and recycling infrastructures - what seemed obvious to french students is not here and vice versa.
The answer of a student to explain the difference between natural and artificial, "a plane is made by the human while a tree, it is made by God". "The sun is used to give vitamin D and the air is used to carry the sound ". "The best way to reduce the waste we see everywhere on the ground is to collect and burn them."
The director of the school, quiet, ensures our well-being by bringing us fresh water. He will spend the rest of the day sitting among the children, sometimes blowing them the answers.
In the attitude of the students, we can see a serious relationship with schooling and a firm framework. Whether in the courtyard for the gathering or in the classroom when they speak, students seem used to standing up straight and speaking clearly.
For the second time in a few weeks, we are thanked for offering students (and teachers) workshops that are fun and based on students' knowledge to move towards theoretical concepts. This is an aspect of our intervention that we had not really considered, but we almost feel like ambassadors of a certain pedagogy, we the budding teachers !
For this last ethiopian « Libellule day », we spent a pleasant moment in this small school where the conditions are pleasant to learn and to teach.