On February 3rd, 2014, WAAW Foundation completed its first Outreach and Mentoring Program Training in Durban, South Africa. Seven Fellows from the cell based out of the University of Kwazulu-Natal took part in the 6-day training, led by Frances Van Sloun, Operations Director for WAAW Foundation.
Fellows had a blast exploring new curriculum, activities, and supplies that they can now use in their monthly outreaches! Favorites were The Physics of Flight and Wind Energy. Other workshops included Solar Energy, Intro to Energy, Changing Climates, Generating Electricity, Paper Structures, and Computer Languages. In interviews at the end of training, many Fellows remarked that this was their first real experiences with some of the subjects and materials. Pholi Mbona, the Cell Leader said,
“I’ve been learning the exact things that I would have loved to learn back in high school. I would have been even more excited to get into science in university. [This program] would have shot me in that direction.”
With all of these great new tools, a whole new world of hands-on learning was opened up to the South Africa Fellows, and by the end of the week, they were excited about the new experiences they can bring to their students. Nolwazi Mabaso, one of the participating Fellows told us,
“I’m looking forward to giving the students more of an experience in these [STEM] fields, as opposed to just telling them how things are. I think it’s much more interesting when you get to do things on your own and see first hand if you would be interested in that particular field. I think this will really work to attract [students] to the science fields which are said to be intimidating.”
The Fellows buy modafinil online canada also started to examine more closely their roles as teachers and mentors. Through daily themes, activities, and videos, the Fellows explored teaching philosophies, and started to reflect on how they relate to and motivate students. While they focused only on content before, they now have the initial push to think about and cater to the individual needs of their students.
Trevor Khaba summed it all up it this way: “The way I view teaching now is much broader than it was before. What we used to do at the schools was basically teach information. Now we’re learning practical ways of teaching that don’t require you to just stand in front of a classroom and regurgitate information, but actually get the students engaged doing the actual work.”
Perhaps the biggest message from our first Outreach Program Training is this: It all comes down to confidence. If you are willing and motivated to try new things, ask questions, and make mistakes, then you are a scientist! You are an engineer! It does not matter if you are an accomplished scholar at 50, or a student at 15. It’s this confidence and willingness to try that we want to pass onto our students through our Fellows. It’s their passion and willingness to try that will reflect out to girls and into our communities.
Vivian Maleba said it best: “I always had a limit. I put a boundary on myself, like ‘I can’t do this! I’m not a scientist, I’m not an engineer!’ But right now I have so much confidence that everything is possible!”
Thanks to all the South Africa Fellows for an amazing week, and for all your continued hard work!