- It is very interesting to visit the students in fieldwork, to see what situations they encounter and how they deal with the challenges, says Professor. Gunnestad. - Things are often quite different to Norwegian nurseries. In Mozambique, for example, they usually have 25 or more children in one class with only one teacher (adult), so they have to use more group methods while teaching.
Professor Gunnestad tells about one of the students who usually met her class in a church. When the premises suddenly were unavailable they just met up outside. They sat on a simple mat, and the blackboard was a piece of cardboard leaning on a tree. The children took their turn to write on it. Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn is very inspiring, he exclaims.
The same student had to bring her own baby whilst teaching, attached to her back. Not many people in Mozambique have maternity leave.
During Professor Gunnestad stay in Mapoto he also organized a joint seminar for preschool teacher students with the University in Maputo. Themes were pedagogics, maths and music. In Mozambique the teaching in preschools are often structured in more formal lessons like premaths, language, science etc. Professor Gunnestad presented a holistic and thematic approach where he demonstrated how it is possible to teach in integrated themes that include different knowledge. In this way knowledge can be more meaningful and relevant for children. Associate professor Anne H. Nakken from QMUC had a popular lecture on how mathematics is an integrated part of our daily life, and what a fun topic it is for children to explore. A local musician, senhor Abrahamo, was hired to lecture about music.
- We are facing many challenges when we are starting a preschool teacher training in a new country. We have to find relevant litereature in Portuguese, find and cooperate with part time lecturers in different subjects, develop a curriculum relevant to the situation and the culture of the country, develop administrative routines, exam procedures, fieldwork arrangements etc – all for the first time, says the Professor who is very dedicated to the job. He even took upon himself to learn Portuguese so that he can teach and interact with students and staff in the training.