We are excited to announce that our partnership with Oysters and Pearls, an EduTech organization in Gulu, has grown stronger! This month, our team conducted a 3-day training on innovative teaching and team building strategies with STEM trainers at Oysters & Pearls. This workshop was a professional development opportunity for trainers of all abilities, as approximately half the instructors were visually impaired. This was our first time training a mixed ability group of educators, and both the Yiya staff and the Oysters & Pearls team had a blast!
To ensure the training was accessible for all participants, our Yiya team sent workshop handouts to the O&P team the week before the training so they could be translated into braille. We also did some slight tweaking of our activities to emphasize tactile and auditory components of the learning experience. Most importantly, we practiced all our energizers and team-building activities from the perspective of a visually impaired participant and adjusted them where the action focused too heavily on visual input. Before the training, we double-checked all our preparation in a meeting with O&P leadership, where they gave us some additional guidance and insights to help us head toward success!
What followed were three days packed full of science, technology, engineering, math, team-building, and refining skills of giving and receiving productive feedback to team members, in addition to qualitative report writing. Activities ranged from silly game-like energizers to engineering challenges to "hot seat" activities where two participants gave and received feedback in front of the entire team and then got feedback from the whole team on their feedback to each other!
The most impactful part of the workshop was when every team member had the chance to mock-teach a lesson from their subject area to the whole group and then receive feedback on their lesson, then give their own reflection on how they will implement the feedback in their teaching. According to visually impaired instructor, Abur Elizabeth, "I am really excited because next week in class I am going to use the strategies we've learned in this training to make sure my students are more engaged and energized in class and know how my lessons connect to their everyday life." That was the best feedback our Yiya team could ever receive. Thanks Elizabeth and everyone at O&P for giving us the opportunity to work with your team! Remember to keep it R-E-A-L.