Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thinking Outside the Box and Pito

I mentioned in a previous blog post that I wanted to experiment with positive reinforcement, and how I began to use the "Think Outside the Box" box. It worked. It worked SO well. I was amazed at how much response a silly paper box drew from these 13 and 14 year olds. Whenever I saw a student modeling the creative thinking I wanted them to use, they got the box and a round of applause from their classmates. I had students come up to me before class, after class, at the canteen (cafeteria/market/foodstand place) and tell me that they wanted to get the box. I told them that they have to earn it, and they did not disappoint. Students who were not as engaged and do not usually participate were raising their hands out of their seats. My only regret is that I did not have more time to implement this, and even more strategies like this. Here are some pictures of my silly students who thought outside the box: 

I was very impressed with Richard. He's very quiet and has a lot of trouble with English.
When he shared his example of imagery, the class gave him the box and clapped before I could even say anything.

Dariad told me he neeeeeeded the box, and he came through with a great interpretation of a poem.

On a completely different note, I had one of my favorite experiences of the trip yesterday. One teacher from the school, Callistus, goes above and beyond for the student teacher he has, and is always willing to share, help, and learn from everyone who made the trip. Callistus took my friend Patrick and me to a place that he called "Pito Base,"which is located in a local village - somewhere I likely would not go without Ghanaian accompaniment. We walked into Pito Base, and were given a wooden bench to sit on next to some locals. This was all outside, and there was nothing but the benches, the orange dirt ground, the people, and the Pito. Pito is a drink native to the northern part of Ghana, where Callistus is originally from. There is a long brewing/fermenting process that goes into the creation, and the final product tastes like nothing I've ever had before. If I could compare it to something, I'd say kind of a hard apple cider, but different (sorry, it's hard to explain). We took our seats and were given bowls and lids. Soon after, a woman filled our bowls with Pito. Before drinking, we poured a bit out so as to honor our ancestors and give back to the earth. It was dusk, and the night was growing dark, but there was still a little orange left in the sky. We drank the pito and talked about life in Ghana, the United States, and just in general. This experience was incredible, and was like nothing I have ever seen or done. I did not take any pictures because I did not want to take away from what I was doing. I believe that life is made up of a series of eye-opening and defining moments, and I know that at that moment, the simplicity of drinking my pito out of a bowl, and talking and sharing with new Ghanaian friends while the sun was setting will be a moment I never forget.

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