3 years of planning, negotiating and organizing later - the first ever NEGA? workshop took place last week in Samarqand at the Center for Teacher Training. Sponsored by the US Embassy, the goal is to provide a group of 60 English teachers from Uzbekistan Public Schools with new ideas and support for improving their own. Over the next year we will continue to work this group, providing biweekly Zoom conferences, sharing ideas, successes and belly flops through the forum on this website, and then coming back together in April 2023 to explore what we've learned and next steps for everyone.
The name - NEGA - comes from our core idea of Nuturing Engagement and Growth for All, and also is the Uzbek word for "Why?" The goal is to provide teachers with a strong answer to the question of "why might I want to do something different in the midst of all the pressure to complete my daily national curriculum requirements?" - and if I decide there's a good reason then what should I try. Throughout this week's workshop we explored four types of strategies
Energizers - quick fun activities that both provide authentic, spontaneous English practice as well as promote a positive classroom atmosphere
Relationship Builders - activities specifically designed to build classroom community, encouraging students to know each other more through shared experiences and team-building work
Picture Book Read-alouds - each teacher received a small library of high quality English Language picture books, a combination of fun non-fiction that is linked to creative activities as well as several non-fiction texts that directly support STEM learning ideas
Content Conversations - these are short activities that encourage STEM thinking and problem solving on topics that also link back to the Picture Books we provided. An example is asking students to consider what the moon looks like on any given night all over the globe - is every phase visible somewhere, or if it is a crescent moon in Tashkent does that mean it's a crescent moon everywhere.
We couldn't have asked for a better group of teachers to help us kick off Project NEGA - enthusiastic and creative problem solver educators are just the type of teachers we hoped to be able to work with. Can't wait to see how much we all grow together by April 2023!