Frank Lema is the Computer Program Manager at the community-based Kilimahewa Educational Centre. Frank came to us by way of a Rotary Global Grant that turned the computer training started by EdPowerment into a comprehensive computer/internet and media center. Frank was not a teacher. He was an Internet Technology professional. But the best teachers are born, not made.
Hereâ€™s an example of Frankâ€™s creativity and dedication. Earlier this year, he was teaching Microsoft Word to a computer class of 13/14 year olds while Ben, an exceptional social worker on assignment at Kilimahewa as part of the Africa Volunteers Corp., taught the students English.
In Frankâ€™s words:
My idea was to help students understand the meaning of every English word before they memorize it from their readings.
So, we gave them some interesting stories from our library books, broke the stories into parts and gave a part to each of the students. Their task was to read the parts, use English-Swahili dictionaries to find the meaning of every new English word they learn. Then, we had each one to stand at the front, read his/her passage and translate it to us all in Swahili. We also asked each of them the meaning of some English words from the passage.
We think this is helping them learning new vocabularies and memorize them. We can already see their great progress in speaking English.
In my computer class, now they are typing in MS Word, so I asked them to type their parts from the Stone Soup book to their laptops, by this, they will be learning to use Word but also work on their English.
Frank also shared this assignment:
For this coming weekend, we have given them another job, to prepare a custom TV News show. We gave them different segments (local news, intl news, sports, weather forecast, commercials and business news). They prepare their segments in Swahili, then they start translating to English and on Monday they should be ready to run the show! With this, they will again learn lots of new vocabularies, practice their English speaking, and also learn like how to say time, temperature and so forth. We both have high hopes with this class.
Frank and Ben are two key reasons why the Kilimahewa Educational Centre is such a beacon for learning in this community.