Institute News

Rwandan Teachers Attend Advanced IWitness Training

At a training led by USC Shoah Foundation education staff, Rwandan teachers learned how to build IWitness activities and incorporate IWitness into the new Rwandan national curriculum.

The training, held March 1-2 at the University of Rwanda College of Education, was called “Advanced Activity Building.” It was organized as part of the ongoing Rwanda Peace Education Program (RPEP), which USC Shoah Foundation is part of in order to introduce Rwandan teachers to IWitness as a way of teaching about the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide, tolerance and peace-building. It was attended by nine educators who have previously attended two-day IWitness workshops or conducted a pilot of IWitness in their own classrooms.

USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education Kori Street and Senior Education Specialist and Trainer Lesly Culp both traveled to Rwanda from Los Angeles to lead the training. Davis Wamonhi, USC Shoah Foundation Regional Consultant in Rwanda, and Rose Twagiramariya, Rwandan educational administrator for USC Shoah Foundation, also assisted during the event.

The goal of the training was for participants to understand how audiovisual testimonies and IWitness can help meet curriculum outcomes, increase their knowledge and skills for using IWitness and developing testimony-based curriculum, and to build activities in IWitness for use in the classroom.

The training came at a particularly exciting time for Rwandan education. The country’s national curriculum was recently updated; it is now more student-centered, stressing problem solving skills and independent thinking. It also aims to “create a learner that will contribute positively to society.”

Though the teachers are still adapting to the changes, they learned how IWitness can help their students meet the new learning goals. Street and Culp led the training participants in an exercise to watch a clip of testimony and identify what specific learning outcomes, skills and/or knowledge could be met by watching the clip. Twagiramariya said this was a particularly productive session that showed the teachers how just one testimony clip could be applied to so many different areas of their teaching.

The participants worked in pairs to construct their own activities in IWitness. Of the activities, one was a Mini-Lesson, two were Video Activities and two were Information Quests. The activities were mostly focused on history but a few included theatrical performance components.

USC Shoah Foundation is currently reviewing the participants’ feedback on the training, which will be taken into consideration for future trainings, and planning a follow-up session so the teachers can finish their activities.