Preparing Students For High School Maths

A Guide For Primary School Teachers

A High School Maths Teacher’s Wish List

What has occurred in recent years as many more students complete high school and seek a tertiary education, is a growth in parents wanting their children to do Mathematics at a higher level. They see Mathematics as a key to tertiary entry and insist that their children be given the opportunity to do the subject at the highest level possible even going against the school’s advice on the matter.

Therefore, high school Maths’ teachers must teach almost all students for all their years at high school irrespective of their innate ability in the subject.

This trend will not go away and high school teachers need the help of primary teachers to prepare their students to enter the rigours of high school Mathematics.

This article is written based on my experience as both a high school Maths teacher and as a Head of Mathematics who often had to advise parents on what was best for their students in the subject. Much of what I write here was presented to primary school teachers in a workshop on the topic.

Most, if not all of the points I make in this article, will be known to experienced primary school teachers so it is aimed more at those new to the profession.

Mathematics is a subject discipline where the student must develop his/her understanding of Mathematics. Learning rules and procedures can take the student only so far. It will not help in the modern world of real life Maths problems in unfamiliar contexts.

To help prepare students for high school Maths, upper primary school teachers need to attempt to develop the following within their students.

  1. A work ethic and one which is self-motivating. Often, students in Mathematics will need to work alone and unaided.
  2. A homework ethic. The speed of teaching the syllabus requirements in high school is dictated by outside authorities. This means that the teacher must cover a mandated syllabus in a specific time. For the student, this means that homework is an essential part of the learning process if he/she is to keep up with the pace of teaching.
  3. A study ethic. It is important that students learn that homework does not equal study.
  4. A belief that all students can do some Maths.
  5. An understanding that Maths is an essential part of everyday life and we all do Mathematical things successfully every day, often automatically.
  6. A belief in students that asking questions in Maths is a ‘cool’ thing to do.
  7. A belief in students that Maths is unisexual, not just for the boys.

Below is a list of what I call essential preparation that is not directly Mathematical but will assist students greatly in their study of Mathematics as well as other subjects.

Students should be taught:

  • Study skills
  • How to be powerful listeners
  • How to ask questions
  • Checking procedures
  • Estimation as a checking device
  • Various problem solving techniques
  • An effective setting out procedure
  • That the answer only is not enough. The students must explain in written Mathematical form how they achieved their answer.
  • That there is often more than one way to solve a problem
  • An understanding of order convention
  • Examination technique

Communicating mathematically is a skill that needs to be taught. It involves students being taught the following:

  1. The correct use of Mathematical terms including their spelling;
  2. Correct use of all Mathematical symbols;
  3. Logical setting out;
  4. Justification of each step where necessary;
  5. Logical reasoning;
  6. The use of neat and clear figures, accurate and appropriate diagrams;
  7. To work vertically down the page to allow ease of checking and the elimination of errors in copying;
  8. The translation from one form of expression to another, e.g. numerical/verbal data to diagrams/tables/graphs/equations, and
  9. Correct and appropriate use of units, e.g. in area, volume and so on.

Lastly, you can give your students a taste of high school classes by doing the following. (You might call these suggestions an Action Plan).

  • Set your classroom up with desks in rows and teach a number of “Chalk and Talk” lessons.
  • Insist that students work on their own while doing Maths exercises in a quiet environment.
  • Use textbook exercises.
  • Run some formal, timed examinations in a formal classroom setting.
  • Do regular problem solving exercises. Ones in unfamiliar contexts so they get accustomed to the idea that problem solving is an everyday event, not just one that comes up in assessment.

As I alluded to in the title of this article, this is a high school Maths teacher’s wish list. Whatever you can do as a primary teacher to help develop this wish list would be greatly appreciated by Maths teachers but more importantly will help students to step into the rigours of high school Maths more confidently.

Growth in International School Jobs

Teaching in international schools may be broadly obtainable but it seems to be more tough to be employed into because of the superior standards essential for tutors and even teaching assistants. Among the general requirements is the comprehension and fluency of more than an individual language, usually the national language, and then an overseas language. English is also not restricted to teaching English as such, but teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).

There is also a penchant in international school vacancies for applicants to have been educated in an intercontinental setting, whether in a foreign country or in an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. A candidate with longer and more wide-ranging teaching skill, may be preferred in some international school positions.

A increase in alternative areas of education is also evident with the vacancies of tutors in Special Education, technological education, and other more particular areas. There is also a need not exclusively for teachers but for teaching assistants. Even though they are assistants, working in international schools expects them to meet stringent qualifications too.

Jobs on the Rise

The past few years have presented an increase in overseas school jobs. International teaching jobs vacancies thrive because of the speedy turnover of tutors. This doesn’t serve as a snag because of the rising interest in the younger age band of teachers to not constrain themselves to conventional teaching but to broaden their horizons and teach internationally, which means either schools from outside the country or schools offering an international-level curriculum.

Perks of the Job

A additional benefit for new tutors in acquiring school jobs are the other perks that come with it. Examples are tax-free salaries, free of charge round trip airfare, at no cost housing and utilities, and yearly home leave, among others. Acquiring an individual international teaching job also exposes opportunities for new jobs, and that will require traveling to unique parts of the world, whether by being re-assigned or snatching a bigger opening, because of his or her teaching and personal experience.

The internet is the richest spring of international school jobs mainly because it delivers a more international scope catering to a more international level, that is, the international school vacancies are not limited only to one physical region. In fact, every now and then an applicant from outside the country is favored, because with him or her comes experience, diverse from what a native has. On the other hand, there is no discrimination, theoretically, between one who is from the country where the international school is situated, or from additional countries, providing one can teach capably in the international school setting.

Teaching Internationally

For a number of these teachers, the fundamental motive for teaching internationally is to gain experience, the sort of experience that one does not get by staying in their native land. It is the sort of know-how that can’t be measured in financial and material terms but in the years used, the people met, and so on.  International teaching jobs help not only the students of these international schools but also their teachers, who are themselves pupils learning new things everyday.

Get Your Drivers Licence Today

Driving schools have developed professional preparation strategies encompassed by online drivers education with the intention to fulfill the newest demands for future drivers. The internet based approach is addressed to various different types of age, but the most enthusiastic clients are teenagers who adore interactive software programs.

This approach goes hand in hand with their busy schedule during and after school classes, while parents really appreciate distance learning programs. This approach also turns to be an efficient choice for busy drivers who strive to dismiss traffic tickets. Moreover, any driver who wishes just to improve his driving abilities could take into account professional online drivers education.

Taking into consideration the competition market in this area, there is a great battle among driving schools to amplify and upgrade their offer and online drivers education appears to be a significant asset for them. Therefore, they try to individualize as much as they can each preparation classes and to widen their alternatives. Therefore, mobility is the essential feature of any qualified online drivers education program. This is the starting point for other major assets of online drivers education. Follow the list below and check why you should decide on the online approach:

* interactivity

Online drivers education was created in such a manner to fulfill all law necessities. Online study and preparation is approved as any other traditional technique. The utilized online software programs are preferable due to their interactivity and the actual simulation possibilities. The preparation courses and effectively developed to fulfill all vital requirements necessary to get a driving license.

* fee and period reduction

The online drivers education has generated major benefits by way of monetary costs. This feature is closely linked to the time administration. Teens confirm the benefit of online preparation systems. They were capable of successfully schedule the programs at their pace. Teens are familiarized with the final examination by fulfilling explicit questionnaires. Parents consider online drivers education to be a great program since their personal timetable is always full.

* personalized approach

Taking into consideration the various type of applicants, online drivers education applications have been continuously enhanced to match everyone necessities. These web based programs were created to help teenagers obtain their license but also to assist aged people meliorate their driving abilities and for drivers who are interested in dismissing recently accumulated traffic ticket.

The benefits of online preparation and examination methods have changed entirely the severe image of learning and its expansion seems to go further and further. Moreover, driving school managers are eager to face any challenges in order to encourage their offer. Latest technologies permit students to collect all the required information on this topic.

A special interest is paid to safety regulations that all potential drivers should comprehend and to follow. Managers have developed particular programs on this topic. The examination process has the objective of detecting any possible weaknesses or bad habits in traffic with the intention to remove them. This is furnished by the attendance to specialized web-based preparation applications.

Best Ways To Learn English Grammar

Grammar is one of the most important aspects of a language. Different learners have different opinion about it. It can be a piece of cake for someone but for others it can be a mountain to climb. Some find it boring while for others it is interesting to learn grammar. Remember that we can’t escape from grammar whatever our opinion is. Grammar consists of set of rules to make sentences thus it is important to learn it if you wish to learn a language. There are no set rules to learn it. However, following the suggestions given below you can learn in an effective manner.

1) Initially, it is important to know your weaker concepts. You can take an assessment for it. A lot of them are available over the internet. You can gauge your level of understanding by answering the questions based on grammar. A report card is generated after taking the assessment showing your score and weaker concepts that need your attention.

2) The next step after identifying the weaker concepts is to look for the resources you want to learn from. Decide if you want to opt online learning or offline. The former is suggested as it saves time and you can learn at the comfort of your home. Search the best course that fit into your requirement and capability to learn.

3) After opting for the course, start reading it. You can either start reading your weaker concepts or from beginning of the course. The later is suggested as it helps in learning grammar step by step.

4) Find a tutor if you are unable to understand on your own. If you disagree with this idea than you can practice grammar with online exercises. A lot of websites are available which offer exercises and quizzes based on some grammar concept. Focus on just one grammar point at a time. Avoid reading about many in one go.

5) Read a lot of English content and pay attention to grammar used in the sentences. This will not only help you in understanding the concept but also to use it in sentence construction. Reading also helps you in enriching your vocabulary. Read aloud if possible as you eventually listen to correct grammar.

6) Watch English movies, sitcoms, news etc. and try to understand how grammar is used in speaking. This will give you the insight on how grammar is used in real life situations. This will also improve your pronunciation.

7) Seek advice of native English speakers. If you know any of them, ask if they could check your writing. But if you don’t know any of them then take help of social media. Make some native speakers your friends on face book; tell them that you need their guidance in learning English. Write to them quite often and ask them to reply you back with your mistakes and their suggestions. Welcome their feedback and try not to make the mistakes they have pointed out.

Best Apps for College Students

While it’s highly debatable and subjective about which technological tools help students learn the most, we all cannot deny the power and influence of the internet, Wi-Fi, and now to make things even more easier, apps on our phones and tablets. The trend of increasing portability has never been so innovative and user friendly. Increasingly, we are able to approach online learning and education in a whole new way and perspective. Education now no longer has boundaries or is limited by the walls of a classroom. We can learn from a tablet on our laps, or at least experience a whole new and fun way of interacting with educational materials. Read on to find out the best application tools for college students, facilitating learning processes.

No one likes studying but what if studying was made fun, intuitive, and flexible? Applications on our portable devices not only facilitate staying in touch with one another via message, photos, email, and etc, but now include apps that facilitate the learning process. These are becoming essential tools in teaching as well.

Dictionary applications allow you to look up the definition, pronunciation, and even synonym of an unknown word, which improves your vocabulary and writing / speaking skills. An app called Dragon will even write down whatever you speak or dictate to it, giving you more time to take notes instead of writing.

We know life gets a bit too hectic sometimes. A great app to encourage you to stay on track and aware of all the important dates – class schedules, work times, and everything else is an app called “Things” which organizes all your scheduled events and keeps track of it all through a user friendly interface and task manager. The app will simplify your life, giving you more time to be organized and study.

An app for the any bookreaders is so popular now. And it’s not surprising because who wouldn’t want instant access for entire textbooks, anywhere, on the go? Being able to study from anywhere without having to lug around heavy books is such a great convenience. With these book reading apps, you cam sync your e-readers and tablets to your phone or tablet.

Another great application enables you draw, edit, and perfect any photographs or image, or even original artwork. It makes life so much easier to be able to edit images and instantly upload or share with others. This will come in handy when you need to revise images for projects and write ups and share with your study group members.

Accredited college degrees now can truly take online education to its maximum potential with applications like flashcards to help you organize large amounts of information in the form of handy flashcards. Also, rating your professors and instantly reading reviews will come in handy when picking out the next online courses you need to take to complete your degree.

In conclusion, applications only make our lives easier, and now it will make our studying and learning habits easier and more enjoyable through portable technology.

Driver Education – Auto Insurance Tips

From the beginning, starting with your first contact with whatever is connected to driving and cars, you must have heard of the utmost important aspect:the car insurance. To a certain extent the driver education must deal with this aspect which is vital for the driver and the car in itself.

There are many companies specialized in this field but you should know that there are many of them which make certain advantageous offers such as discounts for the good grades As and Bs, yet, for that you need to qualify;you should get in touch with your insurance company for it. Some discounts are given also for the application for some driver programs, these being quite advantageous too.

In addition, if you can make a choice, replace the new teen driver or family driver on the oldest and least expensive automobile. This can and will save you the rates. Whenever thinking about buying a new or second-hand car, make sure you get in touch with your insurance company to see if the rate will suit you and your finances. It is likely for you, without checking with the insurance company, to think over a car which is too expensive for you or just not suitable. As general piece of information, you should know that sports cars or other high-cost cars are due to have higher rates, thus disabling you to pay in time. It is also important to know what you buy. If you want to buy a car, it is utmost necessary to know what that car can do. These technical aspects can be revealed to you by means of a driver education course or just specialized magazines, provided you already bear the basic information.

Another aspect is the one related to the crash safety rating, because a percentage is given to every car according to this issue. You should always know how safe is the car you are driving, how well it can protect you. As well as the other aspects, you can learn this from the driver education course. In the unfortunate case of an accident, you should be aware of the average cost to repair it, in the case of the one-side insurance. If you want to replace your insurance check the rates of a greater number of companies because they vary from one company to another.

Furthermore, every driver education course introduces the idea of the necessity to keep a camera with you in case an accident may occur;you could register the damage of all cars and the real placement. There are cases when the actual victim is found responsible for the simple fact that there are a lot of ideas and beliefs which alter the truth of an accident. A camera may come in hand if you get involved in a minor accident;you may want to get your car fixed without reporting it to the company. For a teenager, even a minor accident may lead to an increase in the rates, or maybe even more.

British International School Samui – What to Look For in an International School For Your Children

Tthere are 3 British international schools on Samui as a result of the thriving expat community. The demand for quality education has led to the development of schools in Lamai and Chaweng that can offer top class teaching staff, facilities and resources.

While sending your children to a British international school on Samui will no doubt be a strange and possibly scary experience for both you and your child, the schools on Samui can offer a great place for your children to learn, play and grow. Its important to do your homework before you arrive on the island. Don’t rush into choosing a school and make sure that you and your kids are going to be happy with the decision. As soon as possible, get onto the school’s website and take a look at as much as you can. The website will give you a great idea about the quality of education your child can receive; find out if the school hires only fully-qualified teachers and if it is accredited by an international body like the University of Cambridge. If you can, get in touch with the school and ask to be put in contact with parents of children at the school. These opinions will give you a good idea of what to expect.

In order to qualify as a true British international school on Samui, the organisation needs to have an international curriculum and at least be affiliated with an international school accreditation body. Its even better if the school is actually accredited! The school should offer IGCSE (International General Certificate of Seconday Education) or the International Baccalaureate. Your child will need either one of these qualifications in order to have their education internationally appreciated and easily advance into higher and further education.

Advantages of Homeschooling for Christian Families

Homeschooling is increasingly becoming more popular as a choice of education for many families. Instead of being forced to choose between public and private schools, some parents choose to go one step further and home school their kids, albeit for many different reasons.

Christian parenting experts tend to advocate homeschooling as a way to protect children from negative influences of their peers. The sad thing is, these parents wind up operating in a spirit of fear against the public school system. This is definitely not the way the Lord designed His children to act; we do not have a spirit of bondage to fear, but He has given us the spirit of sonship, which enables us to call Him “Abba, Father” (Romans 8). When we understand how we belong to Him, and that all His desires for us and our family are good, we can be confident of having Him wherever we, as well as our children, go.

So if we aren’t looking at this safety net from negative influences as a reason to homeschool, what could be the benefits of homeschooling for Christian parents and their children?

1. Reduced financial costs – Many Christian families turn towards home school because of budgetary constraints. When you homeschool your child, it will definitely cost you much less in terms of finances compared to private and even public school. For Christian families who embrace a voluntary fasted lifestyle so as to turn their finances into kingdom pursuits, these lower costs translate into a great relief from budgetary issues.

2. Lessons can be adapted to suit the child’s learning style – Surely, one serious benefit of home schooling is that a child is not forced to learn based on a fixed curriculum that has been set without considering his specific learning style or personality. Of course, this does not mean that you do not purchase, perhaps, a set of Christian homeschool curriculum; instead, it means that you have the freedom to adapt the curriculum to match your child’s learning style. For example, when a child enjoys music, he can easily learn more things when they are set to music, and you can also teach him how to play instruments, while another child who enjoys sports can learn more through active participation.

3. It’s highly flexible in terms of venue and time. When you homeschool your child, his learning is not limited to the classroom nor to the fixed hours of schooldays. For example, a child can go with mom and dad on out-of-town trips, helping friends or loved ones, or doing any other activity that he may not be part of had he been in regular school. This is a child who gets to experience the world with the guidance of his parents, who have Jesus living in them. In the same vein, online homeschooling enables kids to continue their education even with parents who bring them on much travel throughout the year.

4. Impartation – This is by far the most important benefit of homeschooling, as Christian parents are concerned not just about education, but of manifesting the heart of Jesus to their children. As you spend long hours with your children, you get more chances of expressing His love in the real day-to-day tasks, and these seeds will surely soon bear fruit. It is in the hour-by-hour togetherness that you are challenged to exhibit grace-based parenting, wooing them into who Jesus is.

These are the most important benefits of homeschooling for the Christian family. For every family, there may be other homeschooling pros and cons that may be recognized, but once these important foundations are in place, you will have the strength to face the challenges of homeschooling!

Teaching English Abroad In International Schools

There are many opportunities for teaching English abroad that are open to anybody who is able to speak English fluently. Whether you have a teaching degree or a certificate in English language teaching you can find work almost anywhere in the world.

This article looks at two options for people who want to teach English abroad including private language schools and teaching English abroad in International Schools.

International Schools

International schools are elementary, middle and high schools for expatriate children whose families live abroad. There are international schools that offer an American curriculum, those that offer a British curriculum and many more. The language of instruction in most international schools is English but many of the students have English as a second or third language, and so most international schools have teachers who support these students by teaching them English language.

Teaching English abroad in international schools can be done with the same qualifications that are required for teaching in a private language school however you will be competing with people who have teaching diplomas. With over 4000 international schools worldwide, there are many positions vacant every year.

Teaching in an international school often offers better pay and more benefits than teaching in a private language school. Some benefits you are likely to receive teaching in an international school are annual flights, accommodation allowance, medical insurance and, free tuition for your children in the school.

International schools follow the regular school year, so you will only be teaching for around 200 days, and you will be paid for your vacation time, unlike private language school where you will receive 3-4 weeks holiday in a 12 month contract.

Private Language Schools

Teaching positions in private language schools are easy to secure. English language tuition is a growth business in many areas of the world, in particular in Eastern Europe and throughout Asia.

In order to teach English in a private language school you need to be able to speak English fluently and have a certificate from either Trinity or RSA CELTA. These courses are around 4 weeks long and can even be completed online. Some language schools will hire native English speakers who do not have any ESL qualification, but usually these schools are not as reputable as those that insist their teachers have the appropriate qualifications.

For some countries you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for a work permit. You need to check this out if you do not have one because you could end up working abroad illegally. Usually your degree can be in any subject, it does not need to be in education.

Working at a private language school can be rewarding as you learn about the local culture from your students and see the progress they make. You are likely to have a combination of classes with 12-20 students and private lessons where you teach only one or two students.

In Asia you can land an English teaching contract at any time, but in Europe most contracts are from the beginning of autumn in September through to the beginning of summer in June or July.

Having taught English in both private language schools and worked in international schools, I recommend you try and focus on landing a position teaching English abroad in an international school because the pay and benefits are better and you get longer holidays too.

Sierra Leone’s National Heritage

INTRODUCTION

The term museum is from Ancient Greek, Mouseoin, which means “the place sacred to the muses.” According to Greek Mythology Mouseoin was the temple of muses, the nine goddesses that presided over poetry, songs, the arts, sciences and learning. In Greek Mythology the nine goddesses were the daughters of Zeus, the King of the gods and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The Greeks believed that the muses lived on Mount Olympus with their leader, the god Apollo (American Association of Museums, 2000). In the 3rd century B.C. during the rule of the Ptolemy Dynasty, when the Greeks ruled over Ancient Egypt, Ptolemy 1 Soter founded an institution for literary and scientific study in Alexandria and called it a museum. With the revival of learning during the Renaissance in the 15th century A.D. Italian scholars kept their collections of historical materials in rooms called museums. The Renaissance nobles also had adorned their palaces with art, sculpture and collections of curiosities. It was much later that private collections passed to public ownership and were put on display. For example Pope Sixtus IV opened the Capitoline Museum to the public in 1447 and this was followed by Cesarini also in Rome. The first museum to be operated as a national institution was the British Museum in 1753 followed by the Palace of Louvre in Paris in 1793.Other famous museums are the Art Gallery in which the Mona Lisa is portrayed, the Metropolitan in New York, the Prado in Madrid, the Hermitage in Petersburg (Leningrad), and the Smithsonian in Washington (Sears, 2006).

ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE SIERRA LEONE NATIONAL MUSEUM

‘There is always something new from Africa’ stated Pliny who lived from 23-79 A.D. This vast continent of Africa has some many firsts. The north of Africa is believed to be the cradle of civilization that is Ancient Egypt. It was in Ancient Egypt that the first museum came into existence. Further south are almost impassible barriers of desert and tropical forests, and beyond these, lies the greater part of Africa known to the Arabs as Bilad-as-Sudan, the land of the Black people. It was in this part of Africa in the Rift Valley in East Africa also known as Eastern Sudan that the oldest form of human life was discovered. The Western Sudan (West Africa) can boast of powerful ancient empires like Ghana, Songhai, Mali and Kanem Bornu.

Sierra Leone too has a very rich and diverse heritage. She has an abundant natural life; her archaeological sites date back to the Old Stone Age in Africa. Oral traditions date back to the time when the ancestors of current inhabitants settled in their respective areas. There is a great diversity of numerous secret societies with their associated cultural materials such as the Poro, Bondo, Gbagbani, Kofo, Regbainlay and Mathoma Secret Societies. There are also the old traditional arts and crafts monuments and relics which commemorate people and events long ago. This heritage has been built upon over the years by the works of sculptors, architects, painters, musicians, blacksmiths, goldsmiths and other creators of form and beauty. Up to 1957 Sierra Leone had no museum. The Monument and Relics Commission of 1st June 1947 provided the basis for the protection and preservation of ancient, historical and natural monuments, relics and other objects of archaeological, ethnographical (traditional Art ) and historical or other scientific interest as laid down by the Act. These historical relics were scattered all over the country collecting dust and mould in government ware houses, while her ethnographical treasures were being destroyed by weather wood-boring insects. In 1954, Sir Robert de Zouche Hall, a former Governor General challenged the Sierra Leone Society to create a National Museum for the country. This museum, according to the Governor, can contribute to the growth of national pride by collecting and preserving objects and making them available for contemplation and study. This challenge was taken up by M.C.F. Easmon and others with the formation of a Museum Sub-Committee (Cummings, 1996). The Old Cotton Tree Railway Station was acquired and rehabilitated, with the help of government, and was opened on the 10th December, 1957. The National Museum, according to Sir Maurice Dorman, was intended to collect, put in order and preserve the work of man’s hands that was fast disappearing from the lives of Sierra Leoneans. The National Museum, he added, ‘should be a place where the illiterate man can be inspired by the display of what is best in his culture, both in the past and present, there-by keeping a record of Sierra Leone for posterity.’

MUSEUM COVERAGE

The Sierra Leone National Museum covers three areas: Archaeology, History and Ethnography. In the area of Archaeology there are large steatite (soapstone) heads, the Maye Yafe or Chiefs’ devils. These are believed to bring good luck to Chiefs and bad luck to the common man. There are figures called Nomoli, which are an enigma and are of unknown antiquity. The curator believes that these figures date back to the Middle Stone Age. There is a large collection of poetry and potsherds and it is believed that some of the pots on display in the museum date back to B.C. days. There is also an abundance of Old Stone Age tools such as choppers, hand axes, and polished New Stone Age tools together with many steatite bored stones which were once used as currency and as digging stick weights. In the History area the most prominent item is the original Charter of Sierra Leone signed in 1799 by King George III by which the settlement became a British Colony. There are also models of the de Reuter Stone on which the Admiral engraved his name after sacking Bunce and Tasso Islands in 1664. Bunce Island was a depot from where slaves were transported across the Atlantic Ocean. There are effigies of the late Sir Milton Margai, the first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone and Bai Bureh, the last warrior chief who fought the British from 1898-1902. There is also a host of materials drawn from the colonial period such as canon, staffs of chiefs, swords, medals, coins, photographs, paintings and documents. In the area of Ethnography (Traditional Art) there are fully dressed masquerading dancers e.g. Sowei of the Bondo Society, Goboi, the regalia of Chiefs, Secret Society paraphernalia, exquisite carved masks, carvings in human and animal form, indigenous musical instruments like the drums which are integral in African rituals in birth, initiation and death, textile, basketry and other crafts. The Sierra Leone National Museum has a magnificent collection of artifacts and is truly a store house of the nation’s cultural treasures (Sierra Leone National Museum Prospectus, 2013).

ROLE OF THE MUSEUM

The Sierra Leone National Museum preserves the national heritage; it is a complex institution for research, education and culture. It is an instrument of mass education, which caters for the needs of literates and illiterates, both young and old. Children of school going age make up the largest public served by the National Museum through guided tours. Apart from school groups individual children visit the museum every day. The museum exhibits are relevant to the school syllabi more so in disciplines like History, Social Studies, Agricultural Science and Civics. Thus essay and poster competitions are run by the museum for children. Since Art is the most natural means of expression of people who can’t read and write the exhibits in the National Museum are so arranged that they can speak for themselves. The museum is an important research center. It is research that brings the museum to life and makes it much more than a repository of dead objects. As research center the National Museum is the only place in the country where someone can find such historical documents like the Sierra Leone Charter. Thus students from both higher and tertiary institutions as well as researchers (locally and internationally) make extensive use of museum material in writing their projects. Some of the topics widely researched on in the museum are the origins of St John’s Maroon Church, tourism as instrument of socioeconomic development, traditional schools in Sierra Leone during pre-colonial, colonial and contemporary times, interment rites of paramount chiefs among different ethnic groups in the country, and mining in pre-colonial Sierra Leone.

The Sierra Leone National Museum is not only established for elites and the scholarly community but also to provide a service for the general public. The basic purpose of the museum is to enable the public to know and appreciate under conditions of display the artifacts which the institution collects, preserves and protects. Entrance to the museum is free because it is not only a national museum but also part of an international agreement (International Council of Museum) to which the Sierra Leone National Museum is a signatory should. Sierra Leoneans are aware of the fact that the National Museum forms an integral part of the local culture. The specimens of the cultures represented in the museum are currently in use and people are conscious of their existence and functions. The museum though national also interests non-national public composed mostly of European, American and Asian nationals, most of these are ignorant of African culture in general and Sierra Leonean culture in particular. Paradoxically the museum has touched both an informed and quite largely illiterate as well as educated and totally uninitiated publics. The following are a few remarks from the Museum’s Visitors Book:

• It is spectacular, keep it up! (A Nigerian).

• We entered into African mysteries (An Italian).

• Very interesting! Very painful especially the slaves (An American).

• Most and the best experience in Local History).

• It goes a long way in preserving our cultural heritage (A Sierra Leonean).

The Sierra Leone National Museum is an exhibition and communication center. It provides contact with real objects. It disseminates information about Sierra Leonean Art. Art pieces are themselves documents which are eloquent. From naturalistic figures held in the museum people can learn about the dress of the time. A sculptured piece reveals a little more than the person portrayed. For instance a carved warrior or hunter in the museum shows the type of weapon used at the time. The museum steers clear of ethnic distribution in the country of its objects. It aims at representing rather than pointing out local peculiarities. For example Rhythmic Arts (musical instruments), Occupations (fishing gear, basketry and pottery), cultural objects (insignia of Chiefs and bride money), and Women’s Activities (ornaments, combs and cooking utensils)) are portrayed in the museum. The reason being that both urban and rural visitors are anxious to see their ways of life reflected in the “Ancestral Home,” which is the museum. As local visitors go round the museum they search attentively for utensils, tools, weapons or familiar faces and are usually delighted or sometimes complaint to staff when these are absent. In brief the Museum plays a very important part at national and international levels. It helps the public to appreciate articles illustrating history. As repository of the national heritage it helps people to find the elements of their past and to acquire new spiritual wealth. The Museum renews in Sierra Leoneans a sense of belonging to a particularly civilization and stimulates in them the spirit of national pride and cohesion which are essential ingredients in nation building.

MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL ORGANISATIONS

The Sierra Leone National Museum is a member of several professional bodies both at home and overseas. It has been a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) since 1964. The Museum is also a member of the Organization for Museums, Monuments and Sites in Africa (OMMSA), the cultural arm of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), currently African Union(AU ). The Museum is represented in the Arts Education Association of Sierra Leone, which in the past organized Art Festivals in schools and colleges; it is also represented in the Public Archives Commission and the Sierra Leone Association of Librarians, Archivists and Information Professionals(SLAALIP).

The Sierra Leone National Museum continues to enjoy cordial relationship with UNESCO which has assisted in staff training and supply of equipment; the West African Museums Program in Dakar(WAMP),which has conducted several workshops on conservation and preservation of artifacts. Foreign Missions too have contributed immensely to the development of the museum. For example the Federal Republic of Germany in Sierra Leone erected an extension of the museum as a bicentenary gift. The French Embassy in Sierra Leone through the French Cooperation Technical Department rehabilitated the Old Cotton Tree Museum Building. The United States of America, through the Department of the United States Information Services has on several occasions invited the curator to visit the USA which has resulted to close links with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, the Museum of African Art in Washington, Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The U S Embassy was also instrumental in the twinning relationship with the Museum of Coastal History, St. Simons Island, Georgia. Through these links the Museum was supplied with the results of Indiana-American research projects, pamphlets, calendars of coming events, posters and future exhibitions. The twinning with the Museum of Coastal History, St Simons Island, Georgia, USA has led to the investigation of the “Trans-Atlantic Linkage-the Sierra Leone and the Gullah/Geechee Connection.” There has been a series of exchange visits between curators and the Great Spring Lecture was delivered at Fort Frederica, St Simon Island in 1995. In the same year a joint exhibition and a symposium was held on the “Trans-Atlantic Linkage” in Georgia.

CHALLENGES

One of the primary concerns of the Sierra Leone National Museum is how to combat the theft and illicit exportation of cultural artifacts. The Government of Sierra Leone has formulated a comprehensive national policy with statutes as contained in the Monuments and Relics Ordinance of 1947. The Ordinance provides for the preservation of ancient, historical and natural monuments, relics and other objects of historical, ethnographical and scientific interest. Any person who desires to export from the country any ethnographical item must submit it to the National Museum; a license will be issued which should be shown to customs officers at the point of departure. If an intended item for exportation has cultural, historical or archaeological value it will be retained in the country as part of the national heritage. Anyone found violating any of the regulations is liable to criminal prosecution under the provision of the Ordinance. If found guilty the person concerned will have to pay a fine of two hundred pounds sterling. In default of payment, the person will serve a prison sentence not exceeding six months. However, in spite of the efforts made by the Museum to protect cultural property smuggling of artifacts continues. It is disturbing to note that in Sierra Leone educated and intelligent persons purchase, sell and export protected cultural materials just for the sake of business promotion. What is more Sierra Leone has porous borders which people use to advantage in smuggling cultural materials out of the country with impunity.

Further the public service that the National Museum plays warrants public expenditure, especially if standards are to be maintained. Sadly government grants to the museum are meagre and this poses another challenge for the running of the museum. Often salaries paid to staff are not only discouraging often but delayed in payment. In 2014 for instance so much salary backlog was owed staff that staff struck and the museum ceased to operate for a while. Besides the National Museum does not have branches in the provinces but only centered in the capital city, Freetown. Staff are limited in number and ill-motivated. Hardly are they engaged in capacity building due to lack of funds. This has led to massive staff turn-over. More over working in the museum is not well regarded nation-wide. Most people view it as a job for school drop outs. Thus young people do not like pursuing museology as a career. Also staff do not embark on massive public education on the importance of the museum in society. Little wonder why school going children form the largest number of visitors to the museum as opposed to government functionaries and key stake holders in the country. Even the line ministry, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the Museum is under does not seem to understand its importance in nation building. The Ministry priorities its activities and supporting the museum is not a priority. Thus in time of economic stringency the museum is a prone area to swindle funds (Sierra Leone National Museum Prospectus, 2013). If therefore government wants the National Museum to continue playing an ever increasing role in national development there is every need for government functionaries to give second thought on how best they can support it to meet this goal. Where the challenges faced by management are addressed the museum too can help generate the much needed foreign exchange in addition to its preservation of the national heritage.