Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Friday Morning Academic Competition at AAMOM

Each Friday morning at AAMOM assembly is held in the little chapel building. The children gather for competition between two teams who are quizzed in subject areas including spelling, math, social studies and science. Each week a different grade level is featured in the Friday morning contest. It is quite an event and the children are very attentive as you can see from the picture above.
Two teams of the most outstanding students from the grade level are selected to compete. The teams take turns drawing questions on folded paper from a box. They turn the question over to the teacher who acts as MC. She reads the question and the team that is "up" has a brief moment to confer about the answer and select the spokesperson to deliver the team's response. In the picture above the lovely smiling young lady knew all the answers. It was interesting to see that she declined to stand and deliver the team response. Instead, she murmured the answer to one of the male team members who then stood and answered for the team.
Gender education is an issue in Liberia where girls have diminished opportunity for education. Liberian President Sirleaf (the first elected female head of state in Africa) has made gender education and other issues related to gender inequality a major cornerstone of her administration. Lott Carey Mission School is exceptional in that it maintains a nearly 50-50 ratio of boys to girls.

Each correct answer is greeted with enthusiastic applause and the excitement mounts. At the head of the room a score keeper writes the score for each team in each subject area on the board. At the end of the competition, the scores are totaled up and the winner is announced. It was interesting to see that both teams received applause from the audience and commendation from the teacher.
When the excitement is over the children stand, put their chairs on their heads and go to class.

There are not enough chairs for any to stand unused and the chairs are carried from place to place by the children. After chapel they are carried to class. At the end of class they are carried to the dining hall for lunch. After lunch they are carried out and placed in the shade for studying and socializing. As evening falls and the mosquitos begin to swarm, the chairs are picked up again and carried into the candle-lit study areas of the dorms for homework and evening prayers. These chairs get some use! Even the littlest AAMOM resident carries her own chair.

No comments:

Post a Comment