Sometimes it's hard to persuade students to join the SELI Young Writers club at first. In this rural primary school on the Freetown Peninsula, students have been very reluctant to take part.
But when the members carried out content conferencing at their lunchtime meeting on Friday, May 13 to this audience, they may have won some converts! The onlookers were completely absorbed through the whole meeting, as you can see from the astute gaze of these two girls in front of a Sierra Leone National Anthem poster.
What might they have been noticing? Whether anyone was made to feel embarrassed? What the members did while the student was reading her personal experience aloud? What everyone did afterward?
What kinds of questions were asked? Whether only the best students were given the opportunity to read?
We will have to wait to find out exactly what meaning the children made of this experience—whether any of the observers ask to join the club. To me, this was a good lesson in how the "hidden agenda" works. We teachers do a lot of talking—encouraging, persuading—but children assess our true agenda from the way things play out in class.