New student teachers attending DNS teacher–training colleges in Angola have embarked on a four-month field trip across southern Africa. The journey is providing the new trainees with the opportunity to meet different peoples across the continent, experience the diversity of cultures, and gain a greater sense of empathy for the myriad struggles of the poor.
The bus odyssey is part of the student-teachers' introductory experience, and is designed to enrich their perspectives and impart knowledge and understanding that they could not obtain in the classroom. It is among the innovations that the DNS program utilizes to train “another kind of teacher.”
If traveling through rural Africa by bus sounds like a leisurely vacation, think again. In addition to buying food, preparing their own meals, doing laundry, and even taking care of the bus, the student teachers are fully engaged in their studies, completing readings (using solar-powered e-readers) and written assignments in their “mobile classroom.”
“It has been a very good journey, ” said driver Pia Jorgensen, whose bus is carrying 30 students and three instructors from the DNS college in Benguela. “The students are becoming a good and close team. Their eyes and hearts are opened to the conditions we have seen across the different villages where we have stayed. ”
So far, the caravan has been on the road for just over a month and has traveled from Angola to Tanzania, by way of Namibia and Zambia. There are 19 buses transporting a total of 550 student teachers. Stay tuned for further updates on the bus journey.
To see buses depart from Angola, watch this news clip (in Portuguese) filmed by a local Angolan television station.