Teacher Tabitha Njambi is confident, passionate and very organized when it comes to her classroom. She has been teaching for over fifteen years and she has significantly grown her teaching techniques over the years.
We met with her in her Grade Two Class at Flying Kites Academy in Njabini and we noted from the onset how vibrant her class is, with a lot of engaging learning charts, story books and a discipline plan displayed. Her students are on task and working on a creative coloring assignment when we arrive. As a Grade Two teacher, she handles; english activities, mathematics activities, swahili activities, literacy activities, environmental activities, hygiene & nutrition activities, CRE activities, physical exercise activities, music and creative arts.
I engage with Tabitha to learn about her career journey, how she is improving her teaching practice and the goals she has for her students. Tabitha is one of the fellows who have been participating in the Flying Kites Academy & Teacher Training Institute. This training program is a collaboration between Dignitas and Flying Kites aimed at improving teacher effectiveness. We both believe that excellent teachers help drive student success and achievement.
From the start, when we began learning about the mindsets, I discovered that I had a challenge in that area only after attending the Dignitas training. I had fixed my mind and thought that some pupils might not be able to do certain tasks. I discovered that I can move from my fixed mindset to a growth mindset and believe in my students. I had to change some of my methods of teaching and started engaging my students in different ways.
The other strategy that Tabitha has adopted in her classroom is creating a Discipline Plan. Previously, she had tried different methods that did not always achieve results. Now, she focuses on establishing relationships with her students first then she sets rules in a positive tone. She has seen how this strategy has improved classroom culture and maximized her instruction time. She spends less time correcting behaviors since her students already know the expectations that have been clearly laid out.
When it comes to teaching techniques, Tabitha highlights two techniques that have transformed learning in her classroom. The use of strong voice and grouping of students based on their abilities.
“I am now able to engage every pupil despite the difference in their ability. I now group them in different abilities and make sure that every child has learned that particular lesson. I had previously thought that it is impossible to involve all the students in every activity. But after trying it again and again, it has now become part of my teaching style, I have seen it working.”
The Flying Kites team is also utilizing PLC meetings to collaborate and improve performance and school culture. “We have the PLC meetings which is working so well at our school. You discuss what you have tried and other potential methods you could explore in future based on the feedback the team provides. Now I am able to solve the problems I was not able to solve alone.”
*PLC -Professional Learning Communities
During the previous meeting held, they discussed classroom rules and regulations as part of the discipline plan in the school, since discipline goes hand in hand with performance. We noticed that all classes at Flying Kites Academy have their rules displayed and students have internalized the plans. Some classes even have songs for their plans!
Contributor: Gloria Omuya – Communication & Operations Manager