Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sequencing, Inferencing, and Predicting...Oh My!!!

Day six of our Malawian adventure continued to enlighten our educational understanding of children. We went to Mtendere Village early Sunday morning for the church service which was held in the multi-purpose room. The children were singing and listening attentively during the two and a half hour service. It seemed as though church was an option for the children because some were not attending. However, the multi-purpose room, which resembles a dining hall, was full of singing children and house mothers. The service was recited in both Chichewa and English. Though lengthy, it was beautiful to see the children and house mothers so devoted to their faith.

For some of the children and us as well, the language barrier presented somewhat of an unexpected challenge; however we found great techniques to communicate to the children. One of these techniques included the use of culturally relevant books in the EDRDG 430 tutoring sessions. The students have difficulty relating to the American culture found within the majority of the books found in their library. Some of us had them draw pictures and answer open ended questions in order to help break the ice. This was also a useful strategy to overcome the language barrier.

While at times the children of Mtendere seem to have difficulty speaking English, decoding seems to come more naturally. However, when checking reading comprehension levels using an Informal Reading Inventory, many of the orphans had comprehension levels two to three grade levels below their word recall assessment. We have noticed that many of the children learn English through rote memorization and believe this to be the cause of their lack of comprehension. We all planned hands-on activities to help them to understand a variety of areas including sequencing, inferencing, main idea, and predictions on a deeper level. These activities we created attracted children not involved in the tutoring sessions—what a great feeling it was to see the motivation they all have for learning!

Many of us as Ball State students realized that even with limited teaching materials, our lessons could still be taught effectively. We found that creativity can go a long way and we tried to utilize it as much as possible while working with the children.

1 comment:

  1. The children are adorable. I am very proud of you young teachers being so perceptive.