Tuesday (and sometimes Wednesday) is for Teachers
These faces grab my heart. Children in Haiti eager to learn; their parents dreaming of a better life for their children.
Healing Hands International began a new program this past year by establishing this lofty goal: teachers in developing countries will learn effective teaching practices in a holistic manner. Dr. Bobbie Solley’s visits since July, 2012 are laying the foundation in a small school in Ganthier, just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A successful teachers-teaching-teachers model of professional development will expand the teaching practices they learn to other schools in Haiti.
As a teacher, I’m interested in finding out the whys, the how-tos, the big picture of this work. I’m impressed with the plan and goals Healing Hands has begun. No question, Dr. Solley, a retired professor from Middle Tennessee University, knows literacy. Every trip to Ganthier provides her and her teams with more insight, new avenues to pursue, and an on-site evaluation of the effectiveness of each training.
Understanding the language issues in Haiti are critical in teaching reading and providing success for every student. In case you don’t know the details, Haiti has two official languages: Creole and French. Most everyone speaks Haitian Creole, a hybrid of 18th century French and West African languages. French is the literary language, the written language recognized since 1804. Both Creole and French are taught in school, and the national exams that begin in 1st grade are in French. Haitian Creole in literature (or print) is slowly increasing which means there are more books available in Creole. (information from Wikipedia)
As any pre-school or kindergarten teacher knows, the first language of a child is the one they bring to school, thus, Creole is usually the primary language for 2-4 year olds when they begin school. Healing Hands has located sources for books written in Creole as well as French and presented a well-developed plan for integrating French to these young students last month.
Now let’s talk about some details. Imagine a concrete classroom. Not so hard since most schools in the States have concrete walls. This Haitian classroom has small wooden tables and chairs and a blackboard. Most of the walls are bare. How many hours have you spent trying to get charts, pictures, and posters to stay attached to your classroom walls? Now add the a tropical climate, and classrooms without air conditioning. Pretty hard to make anything stick to those walls. But look what the HHI team did in March.
Imagine a pre-school or kindergarten classroom without any manipulatives (puzzles, games, pictures, blocks, toys for imagining). HHI slowly adds a few manipulatives when they visit. Books and materials for teachers also come with each visit.
How can you help as an individual? Or involve your class at school or church? Three very practical ways: 1) train a teacher, 2) adopt a teacher, 3) provide learning packs.
- Thirty dollars a month will provide training four times a year for one teacher for 12 months.
- Fifteen dollars a month will give a teacher classroom supplies (scissors, paper, construction paper, dry erase markers) for one teacher. Teachers make less than $150 a month in Haiti and have nothing left over to buy supplies.
- Twenty five dollars will buy all the supplies for one child to get them started in school. Parents have to pay tuition for their children as well as pay for uniforms, so there is usually no money left over for supplies.
This link sends you to the site on HHI to read more and to sign up to help.
Look at these great school packs. Many hands volunteer to make them and then load them up with supplies. It’s easier and cheaper for HHI to get supplies in bulk or donated than to have people send supplies.
Oh, if you’re interested in a more-hands project, check out the Magi Boxes here that go out to many countries as Christmas gifts.
Read more about all these works in the newsletters and annual report with this link.
Counting many blessings in all of these projects:
- teaching teams willing to travel and teach in Haiti
- women who sew the school packs and fill them with supplies
- Dr. Solley’s guidance and wisdom
- willing hearts to contribute funds to improve the lives of families in Haiti.