The Process of Making Progress: Quest Forward Learning Takes Hold in Tanzania
Within Tanzania and most of Africa, nearly all secondary school students learn by rote memorization, acquiring facts and figures that have little relevance or meaning outside of the classroom. When envisioning the future, it is clear that Tanzania needs young people with the skills to create new opportunities for themselves and others; to develop their communities and our country; and to lift the health, well-being, and standard of living of our country’s citizens. Quest Forward Learning, now in its third year in Tanzania, is fulfilling this inspiring vision.
This is quickly evident when stepping into a classroom. In a traditional classroom, learners sit rigidly in rows writing notes. Quest Forward students are engaged with each other, freely moving in the classroom, collaborating, advancing at their own pace, working on different tasks, and accessing different resources. All of this contributes to meaningful activities, which take the lessons beyond the classroom. While students in a traditional classroom spend their time chatting and waiting for their teacher to deliver lectures, textbooks, and chalk, Quest Forward Learning students engage themselves in different individual and group activities with or without their mentors. Quest Forward students take control of their learning.
What are teachers saying about Quest Forward Learning?
Mussa Challa, who is a teacher (mentor) at Mtakuja Secondary School, says, “As a mentor who has been using Quest Forward Learning for three years now, I am seeing Quest Forward as a revolutionary approach in teaching and learning. Before, teachers had to walk in the classroom with one textbook and a bunch of sticks, writes notes on the blackboard, and students copied them before they got punished. A teacher had to stand in front of the classroom for 40 to 80 minutes, writing and talking nonstop without even checking if the students were following. Quest Forward Learning revolutionized everything.”
According to Mussa, some of the highlights he sees with Quest Forward Learning include:
- With such Quest Forward methods as check-ins, students and their mentors can communicate their progress and share feedback. Mentors have a better sense of the individual progress of their students.
- Through the creation of artifacts, mentors can better evaluate the progress and the growth of their students. Additionally, artifacts make lessons more engaging and meaningful.
- Students move forward at a pace that is best suited for each child, allowing for maximum learning and mastery of content. This provides for a more personalized learning experience.
- Quest Forward Learning resources are extremely helpful. Students benefit from a rich array of written text, image, video, and audio sources. Their learning is enhanced by creating their own notes, as opposed to a teachers’ notes shared on the blackboard. By taking their own effective notes, students become actively involved in the learning process, thus increasing productivity.
What do students in Tanzania say about Quest Forward Learning?
William (Form 2, Mtakuja Secondary School): “Quest Forward Learning has been helping me to learn at my own pace, while helping and getting help from others.” He says the style of learning does not force him to hurry up or cram a concept, since he can work at his own pace. He also likes the habit Learn From Setbacks, where he tries things and arrives at a solution without being given answers by his mentors.
Linda (Form 2, Uroki Secondary School): “It gave me more confidence and I feel trusted by my teachers. I can work in class or outside the classroom. With Quest Forward Learning, I understand better using videos and texts.”
Glory (Form 2, Mtakuja Secondary School): “Quest Forward is helping me in developing creativity through making different artifacts and presentations. I am now actively engaging in presentations and listening to other students’ views. Also, with the help of my mentors, I can now plan for my activities and manage time well.”
Joshua (Form 2, Mtakuja Secondary School): “It is helping me in developing different views towards the world. I am getting exposed to different skills and models that motivate my creativity. It is good to be here and work with friends.”
Quest Forward Learning holds the real potential to help young people in Tanzania to grow and succeed. Young people with such capabilities will indeed have the power to transform Tanzania in an innovative, exciting way.