We are in the full swing of things here at UW-Stevens Point!!
Myself and 14 other students are traveling to Namibia, Africa, a country just north of South Africa. We are going to be helping at a visually impaired school in Windhoek, where students were abandoned by their parents and have all different levels of blindness. We will explore the African culture, which includes eating ZEBRA. Along the way we will have lay overs in London and Johannesburg, South Africa. While in London, we will tour Oxford University and have a typical pub lunch. In Johannesburg, we will shop around and bargain for different souvenirs.
Lesson Plans: Each of us was assigned a grade to make lesson plans for. Professor Patty Caro explained to us that last year the teachers would just sometimes not show up, leaving the group of students in the dark for teaching the class. We could not understand how they are allowed to just not show up to work … So we agreed with Prof. Caro that organizing lesson plans ahead of time would prepare us more for whenever this might happen. I wrote lessons for 5th grade in Reading, Math, Natural Science, Social Studies, Agriculture and Physical Education. It was very challenging because I have never had experience writing lessons in such a wide range of subjects, let alone build a lesson from another perspective other than the United States. The other challenge is that we do not know the level of learning these students are at and what resources we have to help us teach while we are there.
Visual Impairment: In the beginning of April, we met with a specialist who teaches at the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Janesville. She taught us the basics of Braille and how it is composed. We had the opportunity to use Braille writers and walking canes to understand a little bit more of what it would be like to have a visual impairment. I can guarantee you I am very grateful for my vision after leaving the presentation. It is absolutely amazing how people with visual impairments experience life! They rely on their senses and imagination so much. We asked many questions, but this was just the start of learning for us.
Along side this preparation, we collected supplies for the students and the school. Such basic things like paper, pencils, books, shampoo, conditioner and toothbrushes mean SO much to the students. They appreciate anything we are able to bring to them. I know many students held supply drives at their school or church accepting all donations. I reached out to my dentist to donate toothbrushes and toothpastes. We are all willing to do whatever it takes to get all these supplies over there!
I cannot wait to take you all on this adventure with me!
Brittany Busscher, a junior majoring in early childhood education at UW-Stevens Point, is blogging about her study abroad experience in Namibia, Africa.