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Time to Dance

April 25, 2016 In Malawi Blog
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As the spring semester winds down and another commencement nears, the Malawi M.Ed. graduate students remain extremely busy. What follows is a brief update on some of the activities the Malawians have been experiencing outside of class discussions, research, and writing during their final weeks at Lakeland College.

plymouth visit resized

The graduate students recently had the opportunity to sit in on classes at various local public schools, observing teaching strategies that they will take home with them. They watched reading being taught in a large group setting at Longfellow Elementary School in Sheboygan and also saw differentiated instruction in action at several schools in the Plymouth School District. Yowasi Nkhambala said, "It was so exciting to observe a sixth grade math class. The lead teacher had an assistant teacher who moved around the room, helping students work out the problems. Differentiated learning was able to take place through the use of these flex groups."

Regarding his visit to Plymouth High School, Frank Mbwana commented, "I observed how differentiation for content, process, and product is done. I had an opportunity to interact with the teachers to learn how they organize their flexible groupings and prepare the learning materials." He went on to say, "Malawian schools are increasingly diverse classrooms where differentiated instruction is necessary. With the knowledge gained, I will be able to share with my teachers-in-training how to differentiate instruction so that it aligns with learners' readiness, interest, and learning profiles."

The Malawians took a break from their studies on Thursday, April 14 to participate in Lakeland's tenth annual International Night. This is a very popular campus event each spring, during which Lakeland’s international students join forces to present imagery, fashions, words, songs, and dances from their respective countries.  The evening is organized by the Global Students Association.  This year,  20 countries were represented: Brazil, Cameroon, China, Congo, Germany, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan,  Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Russia, and the United States. You can see a photo album of the entire event here.

women carrying water

Aleme Chitanje reported on the contribution of the Malawians, saying, "Nancy Nyirenda and I each balanced a 20-liter pail full of water on our heads. This was to show how Malawian women in the villages work hard to multi-task. Girls learn how to balance things on their heads so that they can use their hands for things like holding a child, carrying firewood, and other chores."

malawians dancing

All of the graduate students performed a group dance called mnjedza. This is a dance that is traditionally performed by village chiefs to "prepare the ground," as Edson Dzimwe described it, for what comes next, a dance called gule wamkulu (literally a "big dance.") This second dance has a spiritual component to it, and the main dancer appears in disguise, as seen here.

spirit dancer

Regarding International Night, Yowasi said, "I felt very happy being part of the International Night program. The performances by all the participants were really good. I enjoyed most watching the Soran Bushi dance from Japan. It was well-executed, and truly a marvel to watch."

Lakeland's International Night introduces the entire campus community to the customs and traditions of people from all over the world. "It was amazing to see students from so many countries performing their traditional activities," Aleme said. "We learned a lot and strengthened our connections with students from other places."


This post is written by Lisa Vihos on behalf of Lakeland College. The program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this blog are the responsibility of Lakeland College and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USAID or the United States Government.

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