UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page UBC Home Page -
News Events Directories Search UBC myUBC Login
- -
UBC Public Affairs
UBC Reports
UBC Reports Extras
Goal / Circulation / Deadlines
Letters to the Editor & Opinion Pieces / Feedback
UBC Reports Archives
Media Releases
Services for Media
Services for the Community
Services for UBC Faculty & Staff
Find UBC Experts
Search Site

UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 13 | Nov. 7, 2002

Teaching the Teachers in Kenya

New Master’s Degree in Education Makes it Possible

By Cate Korinth

Stepping into a classroom in Kenya feels like stepping back in time. An authoritarian teaching style focuses on memorization and discipline, a legacy of the days of British rule in Africa. Add physical surroundings that are drab and bare - nothing more than rows of desks and a blackboard - and it is almost surprising to see these classrooms packed with up to 80 students. Despite these primitive conditions, many Kenyan kids are so keen to improve their lives that they literally run miles to get to school every day.

Even for the kids whose families can afford the time and resources to get them through school, life is harsh and chaotic. Tribal warfare is frequent and carjackings are common. Poverty, disease and death are facts of daily life.

Paul Beckingham, along with his wife and five children used to live in Kenya where he worked as a missionary for two and a half years. He is currently a theology professor at Carey Theological College on the UBC campus.

“I have been so touched by the Kenyan people I’ve met that I am dying to return and make a difference for teachers and students,” he says.

Beckingham believes that teacher enrichment is the answer to the Kenyans’ outdated teaching style. To replace their current tools of discipline and punishment, teachers need the basic communication skills to help their students to learn. Through teacher development workshops, Beckingham intends to demonstrate counseling and listening skills.

But first, he realized that he would need to acquire some new skills himself in order to help effectively. To teach adults - they learn differently from children and teens - he had to know more about adult learning styles. Furthermore, if he were to teach teachers in a developing country, it was crucial he properly understood the global forces that so strongly impact these communities - economics, politics, culture and history. The Faculty of Education’s new Masters of Education in Adult Learning and Global Change was a perfect match.

The progressive two-year program, nicknamed the Intercontinental Masters, creates a global classroom on line. Through courses and interactive discussion groups, students learn about globalization and how it impacts the contexts in which adults learn.

Forty students from four universities living in South Africa, Australia, Sweden and Canada - come together to learn not only about their common interest, but also to learn from each other.

“I have classmates that are educated black students in South Africa - just like the people I’m trying to help develop in Kenya - and they are very insightful,” says Beckingham.

He hopes to return to Kenya in two years, once he graduates and his teaching appointment at Carey Hall ends.

- - -  

Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

to top | UBC.ca » UBC Public Affairs

UBC Public Affairs
310 - 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
tel 604.822.3131 | fax 604.822.2684 | e-mail public.affairs@ubc.ca

© Copyright The University of British Columbia, all rights reserved.