Mkwiro primary school has been on holiday for a week now. After a nice prize giving ceremony, all the students went back to their homes (happy or not depending on the prize they got or not!) for three weeks. But even if the school is closed, it doesn’t mean that the children cannot learn anymore. After looking at the results of the children, we came up with a list of names for one-on-one tuition. Since we don’t have to teach until the school reopens, we thought that it would be the best time for us to concentrate our efforts on a few kids who really need our help.
I remember writing a blog about one month ago about Standard 7, the older standard we teach. I was explaining that the older boys in the back of the class were challenging because of their age and, probably, simply because they are boys! Well at the end of the 2nd quarter, I finally understood that some of them were giving me attitude or just ignoring my directions because they did not understand what I was saying or were tired of trying to understand and had just stopped caring a while ago.
|Standard 7 get down to business|
I realised this during Open-Library, when you actually have time to speak with the students individually and listen to them (there are 45 students in Standard 7 so you can imagine that you cannot see what is going on everywhere). A lot of the older boys were struggling whilst reading children books. I started focusing on them during Open-Library and make them read for at least 10 minutes each. They probably did not really like it at the beginning since they knew that it was impossible anymore to avoid reading. Eventually, they got used to it and started calling me to read with them.
However, one of the boys would never come to Open-Library. He would either not show up or have a good reason not to come. On the last Open-Library session of the quarter, I sent two boys to look for him and bring him to me. Even if he had another good reason not skip the session, I told him that he had no choice: he was going to read with me for a while. When he started, I understood what he was avoiding: I think we can say that he actually doesn’t know how to read. It was quite a shock knowing that he was in Standard 7 but I did not want to make him feel bad so I just asked him to try his best. You can imagine that when we thought of having extra tuition, he was the first one on the list.
|Julie in a 1:1 tuition class with a standard 4 student|
He already came once and we decided to focus on reading and understanding. We started with a book called the Humble King. He should be coming first thing tomorrow morning to keep on reading. I really hope that he is going to stay motivated and attend all the tuition classes. But this is like everything when you work with the community, you cannot force people to do things... You can help and it will work only if the other works for it as well. So now, it depends on him...
Julie Barrot De Brito – Community field staff/Intern