CCC&TI English Instructor Nancy Posey recently traveled with relief organization Healing Hands International to an area near Port-au-Prince, Haiti where she worked with local teachers.
In Haiti, there are minimal requirements to teach, mainly willingness, and most of the teaching methods are just rote repetition and copying what is written on the board, said Posey. They lack supplies, and the rooms are overcrowded with almost 40 children in 3 and 4-year-old kindergarten classes.
Posey and fellow travelers worked in pairs with a translator in each classroom, teaching lessons and explaining teaching methods and practices to local teachers. We worked on simple strategies to encourage critical thinking and cooperative learning, said Posey. We also showed the teachers how they could engage the students in hands-on-learning without having to spend money they dont have on supplies. We also modeled classroom management strategies, particularly important in such crowded situations.
I went into this trip hoping that I would be able to use my teaching abilities effectively. Since we were working at schools whose youngest students were 3 or 4, I was hoping I wouldnt be out of my league, said Posey. I learned that good teaching is the same at any level. Some of the sorting activities we used with young children were just early stages of activities my students do when we address classification in English 111.
Posey says that she hopes to return to the area in the future. This was anything but a relaxing vacation, but I cant wait to go back.
Posey is also working to collect consumable classroom materials for the schools in the area and is serving as a local collection point for such materials. For more information, contact Nancy Posey at 726-2335.