Awamaki

Awamaki collaborates with the greater Ollantaytambo community to create economic opportunities and improve social well-being.
Sep 18, 2014

Teaching Spanish Out on the Town

The Spanish teachers out on the town!
The Spanish teachers out on the town!

If you picture our Spanish teachers in a classroom teaching grammar, you’d be dead wrong these days. As part of recent workshops with local teacher Chrissie Ellison, our teachers are out and about learning new and different ways to keep students engaged.

Students were giving us feedback that classes weren’t applicable to their daily needs in Peru. When you need to ask for a glass of water or say you will be late for dinner, because you are living in a homestay with a family with whom you share no language, memorizing the alphabet or six verb tenses isn’t immediately helpful, they told us.

With Chrissie, the teachers have developed a new lesson for new volunteers and tourists, based on a walking tour of our historic Inca town. Teacher and student visit the market, nearby ruins, a 12-angled Incan stone, the artisan market and other landmarks. Their local knowledge allows them to teach the students new things about the town--like demonstrating the Incan stone that appears to "bleed" when scratched with a rock! Recently, they took volunteers from our partner organizations to test out their new lesson plan, and students loved it so much that several signed up for classes right there! “This is the best class I have ever had,” said one “guinea pig” student, an older volunteer with basic level Spanish. “I have never taken a class where I didn’t feel rushed or nervous, but this class made me relaxed and happy!”

In another lesson plan they have developed, teachers bring in different local fruits and other foods for the student to taste and discuss. Whatever the student’s level, he or she can have challenging conversation practice with the teacher. They discuss the name and geographic origin of the fruit, and its uses and seasons. “This was quite possibly the noisiest session we’ve done!” Chrissie reported, “Participation was enthusiastic, motivated and fun. It brought out the confidence in knowing that they (the Spanish teachers) were planning a lesson using vocabulary that they inherently know.”

We also have gotten feedback from basic-level students that the teachers, none of whom speak any English, struggle to explain concepts in ways the students understand, without using Spanish to do so. To teach the teachers how to explain concepts to basic students, Chrissie taught an entire class in English! Using a ball and a box, she taught them prepositions in English without using any Spanish to explain. By the end of the class, not only did the teachers better understand how to use gestures and very basic words to teach concepts—they also are very good at prepositions in English!

Ruth demonstrates the "blood rock" Inca stone
Ruth demonstrates the "blood rock" Inca stone
Jun 20, 2014

Building a knitting center!

The knitters getting ready to work
The knitters getting ready to work

Dear GlobalGiving donors,

I am writing to thank you for your generous donations to our “Capacity-Building for Rural Women Artisans in Peru” project and to share with you the progress we are making towards empowering rural women artisans to lead successful, independent cooperative businesses that will allow them to earn a sustainable, long-term income.

A year ago, we started working with an especially motivated group of knitters from a community called Rumira. This month, we broke ground on a crafts center for them!

Rumira is one of our most motivated and advanced cooperatives. Our goal is to provide them with market access while teaching them to run their own business. The women need a center so they have a place to run their business. Currently, they store equipment and materials divided up in peoples’ homes, where it is hard to keep track of and at risk of damage from the children, animals, cookfires and other moving parts of an Andean home!

At the center, the women will be able to store equipment and materials like floor looms, sewing machines and knitting needles. They will have a place to keep materials so they can buy yarn collectively in bulk, saving them money and ensuring they don’t run out of yarn in the middle of an order. The center will also have a kids’ play area stocked with books and toys to keep the little ones busy so their moms can work, and a storefront so the women can sell directly to tourists. As Estela and Justa, two knitters, say, “The center will be great to sew, weave, have meetings, and is close to home. We are very excited to be able to work there and sell our products from there too.”

Stay tuned! GlobalGiving has a Match Day coming up on July 16, and as a Superstar Partner, we will get a 50% match for any donations received that day! We will be raising money for the center. We only need $2000 to finish the first phase of the center and ensure that the women have a space they can use while we build the rest.

Like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Awamaki) for updates about the center and a reminder about Match Day!

Again, we thank you for your support and donations and we look forward to expanding upon our progresswith the “Capacity-Building for Rural Women Artisans in Peru” project and sharing oursuccesses with you!

The knitters
The knitters' son helps with the labor party!
The knitters and volunteers after a productive day
The knitters and volunteers after a productive day
Jun 20, 2014

Spanish Teacher's Training

Aby, a Spanish Teacher applying her training
Aby, a Spanish Teacher applying her training

Dear GlobalGiving donors,

Thank you for your continuous support and donations to our “Teach to Teach” project. Your donations allow us to continue providing teacher support to our Spanish teachers as they grow their Spanish school and become confident teachers.

Recently, our teachers participated in an incredible teacher training. Chrissie Ellison, an Englishwoman living nearby in Peru, with a lifetime of teaching experience behind her, and a certificate from Cambridge University in teaching English as a Second Language, led a true “Teach to Teach” teacher training course. She gave 20 sessions focusing on a plethora of topics that include the importance of phonetics, how to plan a lesson, and how to practice concepts and evaluate progress of students. As part of the course, Chrissie and the women assessed what teaching materials would be most useful to them. They used donations from GlobalGiving to buy teaching materials like books and posters.

Aby, a Spanish teacher beautifully articulates the impact of the training on her and the members of the Spanish cooperative. “Before Chrissie’s course, all of us approached our work as teachers as individuals. We now want to go forward as a team to ensure the success of the Awamaki Language Centre. We understand that this might mean putting in extra unpaid hours to learn and improve, but we hope that this will bring larger rewards in the future.”

With your support, Awamaki continues to support ongoing trainers for the women in order to enrich their teaching strategies and the classroom atmosphere for the students and teachers alike. These experiences boost the women’s self-confidence in their teaching, increases their awareness of practical, dynamic approaches to teaching effectively, and create a greater sense of community among the women. The women built up great rapport with Chrissie, understood the value in her teaching methods, enjoyed making and using new teaching materials, and immediately started to put in place some of her teaching techniques. Since the end of the course, the teachers have met weekly to reflect on their instruction and to share helpful insight on teaching.

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