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!
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.
I am writing to thank you for your generous donations to our “Teach to Teach” project and to share with you the incredible progress we’ve made with the members of our Spanish language cooperative. At Awamaki, we view the exercise of gratitude as an important and humbling exchange that reminds us of how far we’ve come, as well as what our aspirations are in coming months. Many of you donated to this project a little over two and a half years ago, when the Spanish program at Awamaki’s Language Center was in its infancy, and the teachers were just starting their initial six months’ training program. Today, the Awamaki Language Center is well known throughout Ollantaytambo and surrounding communities as the socially-responsible Spanish language school of choice.
As our reputation continues to grow, and our number of students increases, it’s important that our teachers continuously broaden their knowledge base and teaching skills in order to feel confident about their teaching goals and abilities. Recently, the teachers have taken a particular interest in expanding the size and breadth of the Awamaki’s Language Center with the goal of filling up our teachers’ schedules in order to maximize the impact of the program. Following this initiative, we’ve been able to use your generous donations to print new flyers to distribute amongst tourism businesses in town, as well as market our Language Center services in Cusco to anyone who has plans to visit Ollanta and wants an excuse to stay even longer! Additionally, we’ve had the opportunity to improve our classroom facilities and have seen a particular improvement in the Language Center’s teaching ambience due to the new soundproof dividing walls.
In other news, the members of the Spanish cooperative have participated in skills building workshops to better address the needs of the teachers and students at the Language Center. With your generous donations, we’ve been able to provide the teachers with additional teaching resources such as bilingual course books and photocopied educational materials. These materials are now available for all of Awamaki’s teachers to use during their respective teaching sessions and to maintain a sustainable and practical set of resources in the Language Center. The teachers are now able to create their own lesson plans, and collaborate with each other to share and learn from each other’s ideas in utilizing these new resources. Since doing so, the teachers have demonstrated increased levels of self-confidence, and continue to truly enjoy their work at the Awamaki Language Center.
We would like to thank each of you who have supported this particular project. By donating to Awamaki, you are helping us to provide the resources and facilities to support the women who belong to our Spanish language teachers’ cooperative. It is your generosity that provides them with a regular and reliable source of income and for this we cannot thank you enough!
We look forward to keeping you updated on our project developments.
Jenny is a Spanish teacher with Awamaki. She has a high school education and grew up in a farming family, without the resources for higher education. Her husband Moises works in the tourism sector in a low-paying job. When she became pregnant with her daughter several years ago, she knew she had to find a way to give her daughter the best life possible.
Two years ago, Jenny signed up with our brand-new Spanish teachers' program. She came every day to six months of training, thanks the childcare provided by your donations to this project. Now, Jenny teaches Spanish several hours per week, earning a high enough wage that she can still spend plenty of time with her daughter, Bianca. Jenny loves her job and is a gifted instructor. Her students expose her to different cultures and new ideas, while she teaches them Spanish grammar and practices conversation with them. "I learn more every day from my students," she says.
Jenny and Moises have purchased a small piece of land and this month, they are starting construction on their own small home with Jenny's savings from teaching Spanish. They are so excited to be building a home in which to raise their family.
Whether it's food, schooling or a place to live, Jenny knows what Bianca needs. Donations allow us to teach her the skills required for her to earn money to meet those needs. In 2014, we aim to teach the Spanish teachers to teach Quechua, so that they can access more students and increase their teaching hours. We also aim to begin administration training with them so that they can progress towards being successful, independent business women.
Your donations fund this skills empowerment. As we build these skills, we can increasingly connect women to market opportunities so that they can earn income. The women do the rest. They invest in their families's nutrition, in their kids' education, in concrete floors and warm clothes for the cold Andean winter. They tranform their communities and lift their families out of poverty, woman by woman, household by household.
Please contribute to Awamaki today and give a sustainable, prosperous future to Jenny and more women like her.
Thank you so much and best wishes for a new year!
This year at Awamaki, we are thankful for you. You provide us the funds to give women the skills and opportunity to earn an income and lift their families out of poverty. You believe in us and you invest in our women and their potential. Thanks to you, this year we have:
We couldn't do this without you, and that's why we made this thank you video.
Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday season!
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