Friday, June 1, 2012

Counterparts and English Class

May 23rd, 2012

We have begun our second term for our English class at the refugee camp.  This term we are working with several refugees as counterparts.  A few have attended the training I mentioned earlier and all of them have been informally taught lesson planning and teaching skills.  We are only two weeks in but it is going so well!!  It is really fun working with our counterparts, it takes some of the pressure off us volunteers and having their input is so valuable.  They hear what the students aren’t telling us “teachers.”  They know what the students want, need, and what will and won’t work in our lessons.  It’s just nice to have eight heads working together rather then just three.  So far we have assessed every student and split them into three different groups: literacy (very beginner/learning to write), beginner English, and Intermediate English.  I am teaching the intermediate level with two of our counterparts.  I have about 15 males in my group and we are focusing mainly on conversation as well as advanced vocabulary and sentence structure.  Obviously our first term was chaotic since we didn’t have any experience or guidance as to how to teach English as a foreign language, but this term is surprisingly 100% better.  Its stress free and enjoyable and with our counterparts its sustainable, snaps for sustainability!

We have our planning sessions with our counterparts on Mondays and they really are just fun get-togethers.  We meet at someone’s house so its casual and plan and eat snacks and share about our weekends.  This last week we had a birthday party for our counterpart Amnesty.  We had cake and tea and a little celebration.  It’s not custom to celebrate birthdays in many African cultures but as Americans we felt it was necessary and a great way to show our appreciation for all his help.  It’s just so awesome to have such reliable, excited, willing, and creative counterparts.

Mr. Moogee, Amnesty, Ryan, Mudu, Addy at Amnesty's Bday party!

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