Abraham Ogunkanmbi, Programme Director at the Greensprings Montessori Centre in Lagos, has been driving Thinking Matters in Nigeria. Here is his report for recent developments in Greensprings itself, followed by an update of activity in other schools in Nigeria.
Since Greensprings School in Nigeria took the Thinking Matters initiative on board, a common language among other changes, has developed in the school. The commitment of the consultants is also unprecedented. As a result, there is growing awareness of Thinking Schools in Nigeria evidenced by the increasing interest shown in the initiative by individuals and schools.
It is interesting to note that our students in Greensprings continue to appreciate the use of the Thinking Points as a visual tool. They have also engaged thoroughly with Habits of Mind and this can be seen in their commitment to daily activities.
August and September this year, follow-up training took place during the In-service training for over 400 staff of Greensprings School from the four Campuses in Lagos. The thinking tools - Thinking Points, Habits of Mind, De Bono’s Thinking Hats and Questioning for Enquiry were reviewed. It was also an opportunity to have existing members of staff make clarifications on the effective use of the tools.
At the same time there were separate sessions for new staff who were taken through the entire Thinking Schools approach and the different components. The objective was to ensure continuity within the system in the use of the tools. The eagerness and enthusiasm shown by the new staff was very encouraging; they attested to the fact that the training has significantly helped them to improve the performance of their roles and classroom duties
In October this year, five consultants had a Skype call training which was coordinated by Thinking Matters Consultant, Teresa Williams, on the various new developments. She went through the revised handbooks for participants, trainers and school leaders. They were also trained on the various innovations particularly focusing on Thinking Frames as a visual tool for thinking.
After the training, these consultants trained other teachers in Greensprings; once again the enthusiasm displayed was highly encouraging. The new developments will be implemented by the whole school community in the third term after the entire staff have been trained.
Developments across Nigeria
Four leaders from New Horizon School, Minna had an awareness visit to Greensprings School in October to familiarise themselves with the Thinking Matters approach; we hope the school will join us in future for comprehensive training.
The second phase of Thinking Matters training with the ten-man Drive Team of Grenville School Ikeja, Lagos took place on 28 and 29 October. Trainings on De Bono’s Thinking hats took place and the thinking points training was concluded. There was evidence of thinking around the school; both the staff and parents too are being trained by the Drive team.
Mr Sola Ogunrinde, a Drive Team member and Geography teacher at Grenville, shared his experience so far:
“I appreciate the management of Grenville School for signing on for this training. The tools have helped me to manage teaching and learning situations better in my class; student’s performances are improving and behaviour management is getting better”
At the end of November, further Thinking Schools workshops will take place at Greensprings for interested parties. The theme to be explored is ‘Questioning for Enquiry – Growing thinking students in thinking schools.' It promises to draw many participants from different parts of Nigeria.
With the growing awareness, the future development of thinking schools in Nigeria is very encouraging. We're confident that schools will sign up for the training and join the Thinking Matters community.
Abraham Ogunkanmbi Programme Director Greensprings Montessori Centre