Monday, September 10, 2018

Practicing Positive Disciplines: Lurdes Gonçalves setting example for teachers in Timor-Leste

Students work in pairs and small groups in this class, which was previously unheard of under a traditional system of rote learning, where teachers merely lectured to students. Thigs are changing now, teachers like Lurdes Gonçalves are leading the young learner. UNICEF Timor-Leste/2018/amin
MATATA, TIMOR-LESTE, 31 JULY 2018 – Lurdes Gonçalves stands before her quiet fifth-grade class with a knowing smile on her face. “We’ve been sitting too long,” she announces, as she surveys the sleepy faces before her. “It’s time for a game.”


The children obligingly stand to follow Lurdes through a rapid-fire round of a sing-song game involving complicated arm movements and repeated rhyming phrases, leaving them breathless and giggling after just a few short minutes. Then, the class continues, with her newly attentive listeners poring earnestly over their reading books.


The simple game is just one of a host of new tools Lurdes now has at her disposal for engaging, motivating and disciplining her class after receiving UNICEF-supported teacher training from the Government of Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Education.


In her early days of teaching nearly 20 years ago, Lurdes says she merely copied the old-fashioned ways in which she’d been taught as a child – scolding, singling out and even hitting misbehaving children.


But now, things are different.