Sounds of singing and laughter emanated from the classroom, interspersed at times by the voices of those engaged in intense discussion. Such was the ambiance of the Second Annual Teacher’s Conference sponsored by the Source of Light School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During the course of three days, a team sent by Effort Baptist Church presented instructional workshops and interfaced with more than 30 educators and administrators from various institutions. Participants were awarded a certificate for their attendance.
The morning sessions began with song and prayer, led by Pastor Ronel Mesidor. His direction and encouragement were essential to the overall success of the endeavor. This was followed by an hour-long presentation of pedagogical strategies, including: basic human growth and development, Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences and Bloom’s Taxonomy. These topics were met with enthusiasm on the part of the participants and engendered much intrigue and debate concerning implementation.
The second hour was generally devoted to break-out groups with specialized instruction. Topics ranged from instruction in Mathematics and Science to how to successfully incorporate and utilize small groups within the classroom. There was also a session dedicated to special needs children. One of the best received areas was directed towards the administrators and focused on how to apply for funding to meet the needs of the schools and their students. Areas of need were identified and correlated with potential corresponding agencies. There was much excitement generated regarding the future impact this could have.
By far the most popular activity was the creation of sock puppets for classroom instruction. The participants were divided into two groups and instructions were given to create a 5-line children’s story to be written in three languages: Kreyòl, French and English. What was to have been a 15-minute preparation turned into a 2-hour highly creative session! The initial story was sketched and then scrupulously revised before being presented by the group members to the individual groups. Representatives were then chosen to be present the story in each of the three languages to the entire group. What ensued was entirely delightful as the presenters enhanced the original storylines to engage the audience and sometimes, even included audience participation. It was an extremely animated time that exhibited the talents and wonderful teaching abilities of the participants.
Click to see video: Sock Puppets
They want us back! That was the overwhelming response to the course evaluation. Not only that, they want even more time and more materials. The future looks promising to all concerned.
“I liked the group dynamic that existed during the entirety of the training. I think that this can continue.”
“What I appreciated the most was the group work where the teachers provide ideas that result in a profound activity.”
“What I appreciate is that you have shown me that we are a family without any prejudice between us. You have taught me a lot of things about how I can work with my little darlings.“
Written by Linda Bernick – Effort Baptist Church Team, Palmyra, VA