Everything possible about OFARIN's lessons
What is this compilation supposed to do?
This is where OFARIN's entire teaching should be presented and explained in as many aspects as possible. The intentions we associate with our measures should also be explained. Even the textbooks that OFARIN uses should be printed in German (and English) translation. In mother tongue teaching, a teacher's instruction book with many native language words and phrases is used. We have compiled phrases in the mother tongue for the students. This material can only be described and explained in German because of the many parts in the mother tongue.
Because of its size, such a compilation can only be created gradually. We will now start with the overview of the lessons as they took place up to 2021 and were also largely resumed in 2022. This part will be updated from time to time. Other parts will be added as they are worked out.
The compilation should enable our friends and interested parties to find out about our work, our goals, our successes and failures, in short: to think along with us. Please don't be afraid to ask us questions or give advice! We even hope for people who are so interested in what we do that they will consider actively participating and maybe even visit our projects in Afghanistan.
If someone wants to get involved that much, we would like to try to work together. But don't be under any illusions! Getting involved in OFARIN's teaching activities is hardly possible without knowledge of one of the Afghan national languages. But maybe we could help with that.
Overview of OFARIN's teaching
Course content: Here the course of OFARIN and its content should be presented. OFARIN currently (2022) teaches the official national languages Dari and Pashto, as well as some geometry in the plane and basic arithmetic operations within the natural numbers (including the 0) in mathematics. In addition, OFARIN's teachers teach the Islamic religion. The latter is the responsibility of the imams of the communities and mosques where we work, as well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The instruction in the mother tongue (Dari or Pashto) consists only of literacy. Students learn all the letters of their language. You will learn how to write this language and how to read with meaning. "Meaning-taking" means that the students understand the content of texts.
In geometry, students learn about straight lines, circles, triangles, rectangles and squares. For example, incircles and circumcircles of triangles are constructed with compasses and rulers. Calculating with numbers is carried out up to the written multiplication and division of numbers of any size with remainder. Many applications (= word problems) are processed.
It is desirable to expand the range of material in the mother tongue and in mathematics. But for this, OFARIN's economic basis and also the political environment must be more stable. In addition, the previous teaching, with its methodology aimed at the independent thinking of all students, has proven to be very successful and promoted the self-confidence and even the solidarity of students, teachers and their environment. It therefore makes a lot of sense to continue the previous lessons as long as the prerequisites for desirable extensions are not yet in place.
Lesson locations and times:
OFARIN's classes take place in mosques and in private homes. The class sizes are between 20 and 30 students. Due to the existing premises, higher numbers are hardly possible. Due to objections from Taliban representatives, classes in some places cannot take place as before. In particular, there are objections to teaching girls in mosques and in private homes. Lessons often take place anyway. We hope that the old conditions will be restored in the foreseeable future.
OFARIN's lessons last only one and a half hours (!) every working day. 30 minutes of that is religious instruction.
Who teaches at OFARIN?
OFARIN's teachers are recruited as needed. Beginners are initially only used in literacy (mother tongue teaching). We prepare them in seminars for each part of the lesson that they teach for the first time. Experienced, permanent "trainers" work in every area in which we are active. They regularly visit the classes in their area and talk about it with the teachers and the OFARIN headquarters. Head office staff also attend classes. They also prepare the teaching materials and textbooks and conduct the seminars for teachers.
In the beginning there is literacy. OFARIN's teachers are semi-skilled part-time employees. You work 90 minutes a day. Our preparatory seminars cannot raise your poor previous knowledge to such a level for mathematics lessons that the students always get mathematically correct statements. This is already an acoustic problem, since sometimes twelve classes have lessons at the same time in the main prayer room of mosques. That is why OFARIN's mathematics lessons only begin after the implementation of literacy. In mathematics lessons, textbooks can be used as a medium for conveying the subject matter from the very beginning. There the students will find correct definitions and assignments. The teachers are relieved. The noise level remains tolerable. Pupils also practice reading in their mother tongue in mathematics. However, the teacher must check whether their students are solving tasks correctly and ensure that solutions are explained in an understandable way. To do this, the textbooks for the students are turned into instruction books for the teachers by adding solutions to the tasks and further instructions for the teachers.
No uniform school year.
Teachers should ensure that all students understand the subject matter. This means that the individual classes complete the material at different speeds. A uniform school year is not possible, but it is also not necessary. We issue certificates for successful participation in teaching areas.
Move and sit: When a class has completed a section, multiple trainers visit it. This delegation assesses whether all students have mastered the material covered. If this is not the case, the teacher is made aware of the weaknesses of the students and instructed to repeat parts of the lesson and, in particular, to challenge and encourage the weak students. The delegation then comes back to this class after a few weeks and decides whether to start teaching the next section.
This “moving the whole class” saves students and teachers from having to move or sit around individually, which in Afghanistan quickly escalates into a question of family honor. This quickly becomes dangerous for those affected. Since there are several classes working in most areas where OFARIN is active, it is often possible to send individual students who have problems with the lessons - for example due to absence due to illness - to other classes that are not quite as far along in the program have progressed.