I recently posted about a weekend of training nursery teachers. I wanted to share a few things from the weekend…

Here’s a few paraphrased comments frodrowning_2m the CCT (co-ordinating centre tutor, like a teacher trainer in charge of schools in that area).

‘I had to humble myself to come to this training. I hold a masters degree but I have come as a participant and I have learnt a lot. Catherine was my former student at Gulu Core Primary Teacher’s College, but today she is my teacher and she and Teacher Jody have taught me many things.

‘Let me tell you a story about a professor. There was once a professor who was travelling a long way to a conference to speak about swimming. He knew everything there was about swimming, he was an expert on swimming. He travelled to the conference in the back of a pick-up and sat in the back with 150 volumes of textbooks about swimming. He read every single one of them on the journey as part of his revision and preparation. For the last part of his journey he had to cross the ocean. He hired a fisherman with a boat and took with him his 150 volumes of swimming textbooks for that part of the journey too. As the fisherman was rowing, he was reading. The fisherman, who knew the waters very well, could see that a storm was brewing. He said to the professor ‘can you swim?’ The professor replied: ‘of course I can swim, I am an expert on swimming.’ The fisherman continued but the sky and the water both grew darker; ‘professor, are you sure you can swim?’ The professor again confidently replied that he could swim and knew everything there was to know about swimming. Finally the waves became very rough and as the fisherman was asking the professor could he swim one last time, the boat overturned. The fisherman swam to the shore, but the professor drowned with all his books on swimming.

‘What did you learn from this story?’

The participants and the CCT then shared how they had learnt a lot over the weekend about teaching reading. They encouraged each other not to keep the knowledge inside of them like the professor and drown with his books on swimming, but to use what they have learnt in their classrooms, in their lessons, and change how they teach reading.

It was a really encouraging weekend, teachers were extremely enthusiastic and it was lovely to see them working together. I look forward to following them up next term and to see if they are indeed drowning with the books on swimming or otherwise.


Teacher Catherine (on left) teaching at the phonics workshop. 

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