I have been thinking hard about teacher education, teacher framework, teacher training , teachers as both people and professionals. At Bookworm, we struggle to be educators who both understand the pedagogy and the content of literature based literacy instruction and the knowing that we are not part of the system yet work within it to achieve our goals.
I had the opportunity to go to Ideal High School, a school that is growing right before our eyes in Taleigao.
From a small yellow house with classrooms nudging each other, the school now has a 3 storey buidling and growing. The primary classes run in the afternoon and it was a wet day, when Krystal and I trotted off to do our weekly intervention in Class 3.
We walked in to an ordered class, desks neatly laid out, children seated in anticipation of learning, the teacher’s desk at the front. A new building, but the old set up. We do not seem ready to consider flexible seating yet!
Krystal needs to huddle the kids to the center so that they can all get a view of the book ( although enlarged) that we read – aloud.
There is no evidence of print on any of the newly painted walls. Not one image/poster/chart/display – but there was time table. Small in size but neatly ruled and laid out. The only visible print was the exercise/work books of the children piled up for the teacher to correct. Yet, it is a school that has promise. The few teachers we interacted with, seem to care for their children, seemed diligent about being in class in time,
On reflection of the class and our intervention, I feel we have many lessons to learn and many lesson to share:-
1. If story is to be integrated into the classroom , we must have some preconditions met. Timing of the sessions – suitable duration to allow for the library experience and the engagement of every child with literature. We need to capture their responses, connect them to print and make meaning with the children.
2. If literature is to link with literacy , we must take a closer look at the levels of the children, the material ( text or other) that is being used and find connections with literature there.
3. If literacy is a part of the learning environment,we must ensure that children are surrounded by print and forms of print. We need to figure material for display, for interaction, for creativity that can become part of the classroom environment
4.If program is to be sustained, we must partner with the teachers in the school, transfer our understanding and learning to them and learn from them.
The School Book Treasury has a stronger presence in the community this year because of Krystal who soldiers on, learning and growing. I am confident we will achieve some of our goals as we bring more children to read and love books!