In a traditional Tanzanian classroom, students are passive participants in their education. The teachers actively determine what, when, and how the students learn. Students are taught to consider themselves as empty, and so they do not learn to think for themselves.
This disengaged learning environment remains the same from primary school to secondary school, highly affecting students’ confidence levels and willingness to actively take control of their own learning. This persists as they move on to higher levels of schooling, and even into their careers. Employers are now realizing that high academic performance does not guarantee a high-performance employee if they have not been taught to think for themselves.
Since Quest Forward Learning was introduced in parts of Tanzania in 2016, it has changed student mindsets. For example, students at Mtakuja Secondary School, near Moshi, have demonstrated significant shifts in their participation, curiosity, and approaches to the learning process. They are rapidly developing their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills by asking in-depth questions as they explore a variety of topics and issues. Through quests, these students are actively working together on different tasks, discussing them, and generating numerous solutions. They develop these skills in a collaborative classroom environment, throughout their school, and also through engagement with the surrounding community.
When current Form One student, Doreen, joined Mtakuja Secondary School, she was very quiet. Because she never spoke out, even when she encountered a topic she found challenging, she required very close follow-up from her mentors. After six months in a Quest Forward Learning classroom, Doreen has greatly improved by gaining the skills and ability to take charge of her education. As a hardworking and fully engaged student, she now asks questions freely and comfortably whenever she needs help with a topic.
Quest Forward learners are encouraged to be more independent and self-confident. While using the Quest Forward platform, students immerse themselves in their education, whether reflecting on or questioning what they are learning or connecting the curriculum to their daily lives. They express their ideas and thoughts more effectively, particularly as they pertain to any challenges they face in adjusting to this new learning environment.
We have seen how Quest Forward Learning accelerates students’ growth. Many students did not have the benefit of a good primary education and performed poorly on their Primary Leaving School Exams. With this shift in methodology, supported by Quest Forward Learning platforms, these same learners are now mastering the nine core subjects in the Tanzanian national syllabus. Because of Quest Forward Learning, our students have taken an active role in their own education.
Blog post written by: Fredy Mollel & Tupokigwe Abnery