By Elizabeth Osayande
Five Cowries Arts Education Initiative has started a twelve-month long programme for 100 teachers in Oyo State, with the American Corner in Ibadan, supported by the US Consulate, with 1 Million Teachers (1MT) as a co-delivery partner.
According to the founder, of the non-governmental organization, Polly Alakija One of the ways Five Cowries Arts since its inception, the Initiative has worked tirelessly to close the teacher skills gap, by equipping teachers in Oyo state andto practice what they teach through innovation and expertise.
Explaining the maiden launch of IBADANDUN, Alakija stated that year-long programme termed, IBADANDUN project was well underway, and alumni members of the US Consulate in Ibadan have played an important part in the rollout and success of the initiative.
Her words: ” The whole process of this initiative began with an induction to prepare 14 of them for service as mentors to the shortlisted Oyo state secondary school teachers; similarly, the first cohort of 50 teachers participated in a series of workshops and mentor mixers, followed shortly by the second cohort.
“Currently there are 50 primary school teachers and 50 secondary school teachers undergoing training and, through the 1MT platform they also have access to Fivecowries.online and will be supported throughout the year with the supply of physical materials and resources. Each teacher will receive 100 sets of 8 My Story Of Water Worksheets which will be distributed on a monthly basis.
” Hence, WhatsApp became primary communication channels for the teachers and their mentors, with many sharing positive feedback on the effectiveness and enjoyability of the activities and training available via the 1MT platform. These activities on the platform are keeping with Five Cowries Arts Education Initiative’s general goal, which is to enhance the quality of Nigeria’s education through the arts.
“They have taken several forms, including exercises that foster creative thinking amongst teachers, educate them on art materials, enable them to cultivate a culture of recycling, as well as empower them to impact the children around them.” She said.
On the benefits of IBADANDUN, the founder, FIve Cowries Arts Education Initiative, reiterated that : ” The benefits of the IBADANDUN project go beyond the teachers themselves, and provide exciting output for the continuation of Five Cowrie Art Initiatve’s legacy as well as the passing onj of relevant tools for a broad-reaching, enhanced teaching experience.
Adding that, “At Five Cowries Arts Education we celebrate our educators. Often unsung, an empowered educator is key to unlocking the potential of the child. At FCI we do this through bringing cultural based learning into the teaching experience by equipping all educators with creative tools which are culturally relevant. It is an honour and a joy to be able to work with 100 teachers in Oyo State, the State which was my first home in Nigeria, the schools of which taught me so much about the need to deliver impactful and fun learning experiences to all.”
“At the end of the workshops, the teachers co-created an embroidery piece that becomes part of a larger fabric installation, which all future teacher trainees will contribute to. The activity serves as an illustration of how the teachers learn by doing, and not just through theory.
In addition, teachers receive packs of art materials to aid their classroom experience and intend to share their notes and learnings with other colleagues, to increase the impact and reach of the FCI initiative. Based on the response to the initiative, the trajectory of the IBADANDUN project appears to be promising thus far, and is also on track to be completed by the scheduled date.”
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