Work through play

Monday and Tuesday we started the teacher training portion of the trip. We were teaching the use of drama based education with a group of teacher trainers at Wellspring academy in Kigali. These are the folks that are going to be training the teachers at the wellspring schools throughout the country. It started with a powerpoint presentation by drew on Anne Frank and what the project is about.  We then presented our play which was really well received. At first the group was confused on how they could use drama in the classroom. The idea is to use drama as a means to get kids actively learning on their feet rather than passively sitting and listening to a lecture. We learn much better when we use our bodies. So that is what we did with the teacher trainers we used our bodies and took them through some of the warmups and games that we as theater people use and that are also helpful teaching tools for becoming present in the moment for learning. They were hesitant at first, we were doing some pretty strange things shaking around making noise and panting like a dog but it was really cool to watch them starting to get into it. By the end of the day they were all smiles wanting to do more.  Their favorite game was the gibberish village where everybody walks around and talks to each other using only gibberish and wild gestures. During the breaks and when they left they would greet each other with gibberish. It was great.

              The voice of Martin Luther King in Rwanda

              The voice of Martin Luther King in Rwanda

Tuesday we met up with the teacher trainer for tea before beginning our work for the day and they once again greeted us with gibberish. We started with a sitting discussion again after tea where Drew talked about Martin Luther King Jr. Though he was an American figure, his message is applicable worldwide. It was not just about Blacks and Whites it was about respect and equality among all people. I loved hearing Rwandans reading the I have a Dream speech. One gentleman,  I feel bad for forgetting his name because he was also in my group later in the day, was so good we just asked him to keep reading to the end. He really embodied Martin Luther King in his reading.

After the discussion we went outside for some warmups and to begin the work of story building. We split into three groups to come up with  themes based on the I have a dream speech. Molly and I led a group of 6 others and the theme we came up with was Inequality, our first enemy. At first we had a lot of thinking and discussing but eventually we started moving and built a machine with our bodies to tell the story of our theme.  What was really cool is how we used the hill we were on to contribute to the telling of our story by creating levels to show the inequality.

          Getting moving again after lunch

          Getting moving again after lunch

I  appreciated the opportunity to lead a small group. the collaboration was great and it was cool to see the growth. Our group was so insightful and Everybody became fully invested in the story. We called all three pieces together Peace will come. I loved it when we all came together and danced at the end singing Amahoro Azaza!  It seems like they got a lot out of the workshop and will put the skills that they learned to good use in the classrooms around the country. These teacher trainers were a pleasure to work with, we will miss them.