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Swift views of the Rift Valley carve a pathway through Kenya, offering dusty red and green vistas of the ancient lands of the Maasai people. Several hours west from the cluttered noise of Nairobi is a small village called Suswa, nestled amidst the hills and valleys of Narok County.
Here, the arid land is smudged with dusty soil from volcanic ash and spotted with clusters of the musky camphor bush. However, drought and overuse of the fragile land in this small corner of the Rift Valley has led to deforestation and depletion of the vegetation cover, which served to stabilize the top layer of hard pan soil and retain the nutrients in the soft clay soils underneath.
To survive in the new conditions that land degradation brought, the Maasai in Suswa have come to rely more...
Wouldn't it be great if students arrived to class each day cheerful and eager to learn? Teachers could simply open their mouths to bestow wisdom and knowledge, and students would listen, absorb, and then dazzle everyone in earshot with their brilliance. Though teachers' lives would be easier if the good, old-fashioned direct instruction approach worked every time, this simple model of education does not suffice for one important reason: students are not simple. Sure, they want to learn, but about the Russian Revolution? Students can't see how it relates to them. What about the rich ecosystem just beyond the school walls? Are there power outlets out there? Students are hard-wired for learning, but they can fail to retain what they've been taught if they don’t see why it is important...