It’s been a busy start to the New Year. As soon as we arrived back we had the first training week of the year; the first of our new course.
‘New course’ suggests we are further into course redesign and development than we are. In reality we are still making it up as we go along and learning as we go, which makes our students guinea pigs (they eat them in some parts of Peru). However, no one got eaten (except by the mosquitos), everyone was very positive about everything they learned and I’m sure that the new course, even in its partially revised state, is an improvement on the old one. Student numbers seem a bit lower this year (though we were missing some who were expected), but a smaller group is more adaptable which is helpful as we experiment and rework things. Our main focus was an introduction to the Bible, with an emphasis on ‘how to read the Bible’. In the group work the students produced some great dramatic retellings of the creation story.
There are lots of changes to the format this year with more use of experienced local pastors to teach and lead sessions and introducing the idea of small group ‘tutorials’. But the main change is one of ethos; with the focus on the students learning rather than teaching, and on developing skills and character rather than just increasing knowledge.
We also try to ensure that the teaching sessions include a variety of learning styles…… the picture is of Lori, Laura and Lena (a short term visitor from US) doing the river crossing mime. The aim is to demonstrate the difference between doing something for another person and training them how to do it themselves.
So whilst week one was something of a melting pot there was a real sense that we were not just filling minds so much as lighting fires, encouraging and enabling students to be learners….as well as equipping them for their roles in church and community.