I learned that students want to learn in Tanzania. The learning style is also different in Tanzania than what I am used to back home. The students are familiar and comfortable with lecture based learning which involves much memorization. Students are hesitant to participate in activities that involve critical thinking. I learned that gradually working towards critical thinking over time is much more beneficial than throwing it at them all at once. It is not that they are unwilling to conceptually think about concepts, the students are just not familiar with discovery learning or thinking outside the box.
The Tanzanian lifestyle is vastly different then the American lifestyle. Everywhere you go you see people just hanging out. I guess instead of sitting inside watching tv, they stand outside and talk. It is a much more relaxed environment, and is not a mad rush like in America. Walking down the street, people are really friendly and are always saying jambo or habari to you. If a stranger said hello to me in America I would be shocked, in Tanzania it is an everyday occurrence. Everyone is so welcoming, and they go the extra mile to make sure that you know that you are welcome.
It is sad, but in Tanzania, teachers are not valued as much as in America. Teachers are underpaid and the results are very obvious. Teachers will just not show up for a class period and leave the children sitting in their class by themselves. Teaching is not the final job career for almost all. All my teachers talk about getting a different job one day that will make them more money. Students are respectful to teachers but, they do not want to be like them when they grow up. From my own experience and asking others, none of their students want to be teachers when they grow up.
I learned a lot that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Material possessions does not make you wealthy but content ness and happiness makes you wealthy. Seeing people so happy with so little is eye opening. Just caring can go along way in a child’s life. We can have a bad lesson, but at the end of the day the students are so happy we are there. You can see the excitement on their faces from us just being there. Thus, the most important thing I learned is you can make a difference by simply caring.