Phase 2 - Four Weeks’ Study Abroad in Botswana

The in-country phase provided instruction to participants in four different Botswana cities; the capital city of Gaborone located in the southeast corner of Botswana, Francistown (a four-and-a-half-hour drive north from Gaborone), Kasane (a 6-hour drive northwest from Francistown), and Maun (a six-and-a-half-hour drive south and west from Kasane). Bus transportation was provided by the DSSS for travel to each city and for attendees at all activities. Participants, instructors, and Botswana partners stayed together in local hotels in each city.

There were four different structured activities implemented during the in-country phase: (a) work in eight different schools with students who have severe disabilities, and their teachers, (b) instruction in Setswana language and culture of Botswana, (c) daily experiences and exploration of cultural activities, and (d) culminating curriculum projects and presentation.

Work in Schools. School visits were the most significant part of this project as participants directly interacted with Botswana teachers and students to learn about the K-12 curriculum being implemented in Botswana schools. Participants visited eight schools across different geographic regions of Botswana: (a) Solomon Dihitsu Primary School, Gaborone; (b) Batlokwa National School, Tlokweng; (c) Ramotswa Centre for Deaf Education, Ramotswa; (d) Ledumang Primary School, Gaborone; (e) Camphill Community Trust, Otse; (f) Francistown Centre for Deaf Education, Francistown; (g) Maun Senior Secondary School, Maun; and (h) Moremi Primary School, Maun.

There were two schools for children who were deaf or hearing impaired and had intellectual disabilities, four schools with self-contained classes for students who had severe disabilities, one school with all students included in general education classes, and oneprivate school for students with autism. While at each school, the participants were greeted by the administrators of the school with a traditional welcome ceremony that included formal introductions, tea, demonstration of the children’s talents (e.g., dancing, selecting names for the guests, presentation of art created by the children), and a description of their school. Each team went to an assigned classroom where they observed a lesson, worked with a student with severe disabilities, and exchanged information with the classroom teacher. The participants had opportunities to ask the classroom teachers questions about the lesson they observed and the participants answered questions from the classroom teacher about strategies for working with students who have severe disabilities. The participants collected information about teaching materials, instruction strategies, and curriculum to use in creating their curriculum projects.

Content and Language Seminars. Participants engaged in six sessions (18 hours) of instruction. Setswana language classes included instruction in conversational Setswana, verbal and non-verbal communication strategies, and Setswana cultural norms. Participants learned functional phrases, correct pronunciation of sounds and words, and common grammatical patterns. They also learned when and how to use both formal and informal language.

Content specific seminars provided in-depth discussion on Botswana history, culture, traditions, and their connections with Botswana, including the development of the education system. Seminars on specialized education services provided a forum for cultural comparisons and ways to differentiate instruction for learners with various needs. Participants learned about the instructional practices and curriculum activities in K-12 settings that embrace Botswana’s language system and culture.

The Setswana language classes and content seminars provided participants with more knowledge and ideas to integrate Botswana culture and language elements into the K-12 curriculum activity design for their curriculum development projects.

Daily Experiences and Exploration of Cultural Activities. Each day the participants had the opportunity to interact with the people of Botswana and to experience the information they learned about in the seminars and in the schools. Participants ate traditional meals, shopped in grocery stores, explored open markets, and navigated through everyday activities. Participants were encouraged to use the language they learned from the seminars and experience a day in the life in Botswana. Cultural site visits were selected for this program with the purpose of broadening participants’ scope of knowledge of Botswana culture and traditions. Participants had the opportunity to learn about village life, including the Kgotla which is a public meeting, community council or traditional law court of a Botswana village. They also learned about ancient traditions, observed and engaged in traditional dance, and visited national parks and game reserves to learn about African wildlife.

During the first week of the in-country phase, participants remained in and around the capital city of Gaborone with a game drive and dinner at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, a day trip to Baharutse Cultural Village, a tour of the Three Chiefs statues, shopping and dinner at Main Mall in the city center, shopping and lunch at Botswanacraft, and several traditional meals at the Central Resource Center and local schools.

Visits to other regions were incorporated into the program in subsequent weeks. Participants visited Maun, the tourism capital of Botswana with a rural atmosphere along the banks of the Thamalakane River. Activities in Maun included game and boat drives in the Okavango Delta, Chiefs Island, and Moremi Game Reserve. Participants also visited Francistown which is the second largest city in Botswana. A visit was made to Kasane which is close to Africa’s “four corners” where the four countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe meet. Activities in Kasane included a daytrip to Victoria Falls along with boat and game drives in Chobe National Park. These significant concepts were later used by the participants and teachers of Botswana to create lessons plans to be used in classrooms in the US and in Botswana.

Curriculum Projects. Each team completed a culminating K-12 curriculum project integrating Botswana culture and language elements at the end of the four weeks in Botswana (see Table 11.2). The participants worked on their projects with Botswana partners and classroom teachers from the eight different schools visited during the in-country phase. Project ideas and design arose from working in schools, attending content and language seminars, and engaging in daily experiences and exploration of cultural activities.

All finalized curriculum activities included a unit outline, activity descriptions, lesson plans, instructional materials, assessment measures, and supplementary materials and resources. Finalized curricular projects were presented by the four work teams at the Central Resource Center in Tlokweng with invitations sent to administrators, teacher educators, and teacher candidates in Botswana. Approximately 30 individuals attended the presentations, including the Ambassador and other representatives from the United States Embassy. After the presentations, participants had the opportunity to dialogue with the audience and receive further feedback to improve their curriculum activity design.

Phase 3 - Post-Overseas Phase (After Return to the United States)

The post-overseas phase provided students the opportunity to apply the study abroad experience to their profession. Upon return from Botswana, participants engaged in (a) continued curriculum activity development;

Table 11.2 Curriculum Projects


Description of Activities with Links to Interprofessional Work and Team Building

Curriculum/classroom observations

Description of observations in the eight diff erent Botswana schools that impacted the team’s curriculum

The curricular project

project ideas.

Project includes a plan of instruction of Setswana language, history, culture and/or traditions to be taught in K-12 class. The plan includes the use of differentiated instruction, 21st Century Standards, instructional practices, and curriculum used in Botswana. Specific cultural activities are included in the

Elements of the curricular activities


Unit outline, lesson objectives, lesson plans, activity descriptions, assessment measures, materials, and

Adaptations or strategies for culture, language, individual school and student needs

Collaboration with your team, teachers, assistants, and other Botswana professionals

instruction strategies.

Emphasis is on literacy, language, and behavioral skills.

Illustrate specific examples of collaborative experiences that informed the team’s curricular project. Describe the team’s interprofessional skills working within the

Other considerations identified presentation styles

team and with Botswana partners.

Additional needs, ideas for future interaction/ collaboration, etc.

Provide a team presentation of the curriculum assignment at the end of the study abroad course. Present the content listed in the six items above.

(b) curriculum implementation; and (c) professional development presentations. These activities were designed to help participants internalize their learning from their experiences in Botswana and allow them to empower more educators to integrate Botswana language and culture into the K-12 curriculum. Additionally, an in-person debriefing session was held to talk with the participants about the impact of their experiences in Botswana. Each participant shared their feelings about the experiences they had that profoundly impacted them. Instructors discussed questions the participants had and explored ways to apply what they learned to their profession. Over the following three months the participants implemented the curriculum projects in the NC schools.

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