Gaborone - School Report Question and Answers

Describe the general climate of the grade level that you teach or your child attends:

This is the most diverse school I have ever taught at. According to our most recent language survey, there are 35 mother tongues. Roughly half the students have a non-English mother tongue. As a biracial family, I love Westwood and the diversity that is the norm here. My teaching colleagues are from all over: American, New Zealand, DRC, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Batswana, Kenya, Cuba, France. . . I'm sure I have left some out. I just watched a PYP summative assessment performance in the theater where my daughter wrote a play, got a caste of her peers and they performed it live. This concluded their unit on storytelling. There is some great work going on in classes. Critiques from my community here and myself include some weaknesses in Math instruction, and occasionally old-school shouting or shaming teaching methods. They are not the norm, but they crop up at times. I think that Westwood has come a long way from the Botswana norm of 1950s-era British pedagogy to an IB system that tries to support the whole child. At times they probably accommodate too much and swing toward the enabling end of the spectrum. That said, they do make honest efforts to find the right balance. Conversations are ongoing and parental responses will differ significantly over this point. My secondary students are generally very polite and hard working, but don't have good time management habits. They call me "sir." They wear uniforms. In the year's I've been here the graduation rates have been high (80-100%) with IB Diplomas. We have had some recent turnover in the high school and we are currently without a permanent Head of School. I can't predict which way things will go, but I hear negotiations with a new Head are looking promising. This will be critical to any sort of continuity if you are considering coming with a secondary student that will need their IB Diploma to move to a foreign university. - Aug 2015

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