Teaching Challenges

We are now a month into working with the youth groups and I have started to notice a few common challenges occurring with the way we teach.

The Balloon curriculum is very well structured and makes use of easy to understand and practical concepts that we all grasped immediately. However, there is sometimes difficulty transferring these concepts to the Kenyan groups in an equally easy to understand manner. Some groups seem to “get it” while others struggle more. I see this being for a number of reasons.

Firstly, most of the concepts use some business jargon. But the thing is most of the youth groups we work with do not have a lot of business experience so they find it difficult to understand such jargon. I have started using simple sentences when teaching that avoided jargon but I think we can all do this more.

Secondly, most of the concepts that we use in the curriculum have been developed in the western world and we are trying to implement them here in Kenya. Being a Kenyan I know that the difference in culture compared to the western world may make it harder to introduce such concepts. I think many of these concepts do apply to Kenya but they must be introduced in the right context and we are all learning a lot about how to fit the concepts into a Kenyan way of thinking.

Lastly, when we were going through the Balloon Kenya curriculum the use of case studies played a big role in how quickly we grasped everything. We went through case studies relating to companies such as Apple and DropBox, this made it very easy for us to see how the concepts and approaches are implemented in the real world. However, most of the groups we work with do not know anything about these companies mentioned above. Therefore, these case studies are not useful for them. I believe that case studies are a very good tool that can be used to cement the understanding of concepts and approaches and we need to look for more Kenyan case studies that our groups can relate to. We have been using one such example of a printing business started by Bobby in the border town of Busia. Bobby was one of the people that Balloon Kenya helped last year and his business has been a great case study and more like these are needed. I hope the businesses that we start this time can be used as case studies for future groups!

To conclude, we have all been working very hard as a team to develop the Balloon Kenya curriculum and share what has worked and what hasn’t. By the end of the programme and I think we will have made great progress but only if we are always critical and always striving to make what we teach the most easy to understand and relevant.