In July, recent MATESOL graduate Ruth Castillo and current MATESOL student Vanessa Hoffman traveled to Hinche, Haiti to conduct an English Teacher-Training Workshop! Since 2013, MATESOL/MATFL students at MIIS have been collaborating with St. Andre’s Episcopal School in Hinche to develop English curriculum for primary-level students, as well as provide professional development, as part of their work in the Curriculum Design course. This recent trip was the third of hopefully many more to come!
The training took place at St. Andre’s over 6 days and covered topics like communicative language teaching, assessment, and lesson planning. The pupils were English teachers from Hinche and the surrounding region. Many of the teachers traveled from other towns to attend the training – some came as far as two hours away by motorcycle – and a few even had to take time off from other jobs. In spite of the heat and long hours, the teachers were eager to learn, participate, collaborate, and brainstorm ways to incorporate what Ruth and Vanessa taught into their own practice as language teachers.
Much of the way the workshop was run served as a model of how to make language classes more communicative. The teachers learned ice-breaker activities at the start of every class, did a lot of group work to create activities, discussed ideas in pairs, teams, and as a class, and reviewed materials through projects and games. Much of Haitian educational practice still focuses on copying notes from the board and memorizing them, so it was very exciting to see the teachers coming up with new and creative activities and lessons that were relevant to the Haitian context.
This training is not the end, however, because as participants in the workshop the teachers are now going to train other teachers in the region. The overall mission of the project is to empower the teachers and give them the tools to teach critical pedagogy to many language teaching professionals throughout the Central Plateau region. You can read along as the teachers blog about their training experiences here.