Connecting Classrooms Visit

On Tuesday 22nd February, the Rainey received guests from Rwanda and Kenya as part of the Connecting Classrooms project. The group consisted of Leonard and Aline who were teacher representatives from Rwanda and Linette was a headmistress from Kenya, she was accompanied by a 15 year old Kenyan student called Valencia.

The Connecting Classrooms Project is run by the British Council which hopes to build lasting partnerships between schools in the UK and around the world. Through these partnerships, the programme hopes to develop trust and understanding between young people in different societies and creating a more connected world in the future.

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The Rainey Endowed is part of a Northern Irish cluster group along side St Mary’s Grammar School and St Puis X College. This cluster is in turn partnered with clusters in Kenya and Rwanda. The visitors who came on Tuesday 22nd represented the Kenyan and Rwandan clusters.

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Throughout the course of the school day they got to experience school life at the Rainey and were able to recognise many similarities and differences between our school day and theirs.

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While they were here, our visitors were eager to experience our science lessons. Given the strain of resources in their home schools, they were astounded to see the variety of resources our pupils had the opportunity to use. Miss McLaughlin allowed them to take part in a Physics practical, Mrs McAllister carried out a liver dissection in Biology and as the STEM bus was in school for a special Chemistry event they got involved in a forensic investigation. Our visitors were overwhelmed by the resources our students could avail of.

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They also visited the music department where some junior pupils led by Mr Murray performed a song in Swahili which our guests thoroughly enjoyed. Aline then decided to teach some Rainey pupils a traditional Rwandan song. They were also given the opportunity to compose some of their own music using the garage band computer programme.

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In Geography our visitors were able to share experiences with a year 10 class. As the class have currently been studying development with Mrs Spence, it was most beneficial for our pupils to learn more about the developing world first hand. As a Geography teacher, Linette was delighted to teach the class about her country and some of the struggles it faces.

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The visitors picked up on a number of key differences between school life in Northern Ireland and school life in East Africa. They were amazed by our small class sizes, usually in their home schools, class numbers are 60 and above! They were also impressed by our facilities especially in terms of computer access; in their schools they only have one laptop in the whole building. They were impressed by the short school day, in Kenya the pupils like Valencia wake up at 4am to prepare for school, end the school day at 5pm and then have private study until 10pm. At lunch time in the canteen they were impressed by the choice, in their schools everyone eats the same meal.

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All in all our guests enjoyed their visit and felt that they could take many experiences back with them to their own schools. We hope that this has strengthened the link between our school and our partner schools in East Africa and we look forward to the future of our partnership as we continue to share experiences and learning resources.

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