Monitoring & Evaluation
Education: In June and November each year we complete internal formal assessments with all the children in the programme. This assessment helps us to monitor the impact of our educational interventions. All learners write a formal exam on their grade level based on the 3 R’s Curriculum. In addition to this each learner is tested for reading ability. At the end of the term each child receives a report card to take home to their parents. We analyse the outcome of these results to help us determine which children need to be placed on the remedial programme rather than our standard curriculum and other academic interventions.
Our approach is not only academic. We also aim to develop positive self-esteem and self believe in all the children with whom we work. Hence the strong focus on our drama and life skills programmes.
In order to monitor our life skills (‘Right-ing’) programme, the Anna Foundation has had to determine how it is impacting on the children’s overall self-development and self-esteem. In 2014 assessments of the drama life skills programme were done by conducting one on one interviews with the facilitators in the Langeberg and Boland, and a sample group of learners. The aim was to monitor the success, appeal and impact of the drama programme and to evaluate whether there have been any perceived changes in the children’s behaviours and attitudes.
The interviews done during June 2015 have been compared to the interviews done in November 2014 where three common trends have been identified: Improved ability to recall experiences, improved ability to elaborate on answers and improved critical awareness (analysing experiences). The facilitator interviews were then compared to those done with the children, and their experiences correlated on almost every aspect.
Here are some of the other observations from interviews done in December 2015:
The most significant change is that there has been a major improvement in the children’s confidence:
- Confidence to speak in front of class mates;
- being more willing to ask questions and an eagerness to share opinions and ideas which weren’t there before.
- The learners themselves reported that they felt more confident at the time of the interview than at the beginning of the year.
This improvement in confidence can be attributed to the development of the learner’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Facilitators report that the drama class has become a space where the children support and encourage each other. They could identify specific activities that had helped the learners to gain more respect and have compassion for each other.
Interestingly, many of the activities mentioned were creative exercises, meant to develop the children’s imagination and their ability to think ‘outside of the box’.
Games that encourage emotional expression and exploration were also cited by facilitators and learners as a way in which the life skills programme has helped the children gain respect for one another. The facilitators reported that while the games helped the children to identify a wide variety of emotions in themselves and in their peers, it also helped them (the facilitators) to understand how to handle their own, and others’ emotions in a positive and constructive way. Learners developed a sensitivity to their class mates’ emotions and would try to help sad or angry friends, where in the past they would only agitate them further. The majority of the children reported that the most important thing that they learned about emotions was that they are ‘contagious’. They explained that they now understand how their emotions can influence other people’s emotions and vice versa. The learners could also explain to the interviewer the practical steps they can take in order to handle emotions such as sadness and anger in themselves, and in other people in a positive way. Overall, the learners’ ability to empathise has developed significantly during the year.