This week, we have our monthly Skype training and discussion with each of the three pilot schools in the Xela region of Guatemala. We have had 2 of our 3 meetings so far.
These teachers are so willing to learn and are making such fast progress, it is really impressive!
Each of the 3 schools now has a blog, with nice pictures of their schools, and their first impression of being connected. Here they are:
- Escuela Lotificacion San Marcos : http://eormlotificacionsanmarcos.blogspot.com/
- Escuela Corcho Sur : http://escuelacorchosur.blogspot.com/
- Escuela Canton Veracruz : http://escuelacantonveracruz.blogspot.com/
Feel free to post a comment. I can insure you that the amount of gratefulness that you will receive will vastly surpass the little time you will spend on writing it.
We are spending the first part of our interaction on a "flipped classroom training". The teachers review the first 3 lessons of English Anyone prior to our meeting (singular/plural, exceptions, adjectives and colors). During our interaction, we practice, and I answer questions related to the lessons. I am told by the teachers that one of the challenge is pronunciation. As many of you can tell, I might not be the right person to tackle that challenge. The videos will help though.
We talk about the appropriateness of this flipped classroom and specific video training format, as the teachers work with their students.
For the second part of our interaction, we talk about the use of the equipment and specific applications. There, I have to recognize the great work of our local partner organization, FUNDAP. The staff at FUNDAP has been able to create such a level of trust over the years with the community, that there is an enormous openness and honesty underlying the conversations with the teachers.
For example, even though we have met only through Skype, and we know very little of each other, it is possible to ask tough questions like "who is currently not using the equipment?". It is a potentially threatening question. Yet, people step forward and are willing to take a risk. One teacher raises his hand, takes the microphone and says "I have not yet".
The next major risk is that we get into a disempowering conversation, with a possible underlying attitude of passive assistance. This is not AT ALL the case. We are having a concrete, detailed discussion, with the teachers taking full responsibility for their learning. I believe that this amazingly positive attitude has been nurtured by our local partner FUNDAP, and the amazing teachers we are working with.
So grateful. More on the content of the discussions later...