With all of our interactions with the teachers in the schools KEEP supports, one thing has resonated across the schools: the teachers have a drive to teach but need additional training.
In Liberia, we have a saying “the capable are not available, so the available become capable”.
For those who may not understand, Liberia does not have a lot of qualified trained teachers, those who are qualified and trained, usually seek jobs in other better paying fields or with private schools. This makes the capable, unavailable.
The others who are not trained but have the desire to teach and help the kids in their communities, find themselves the available who become capable. So such is the situation for many of the schools we work in and this is a situation that cuts across Liberia.
A part of KEEP’s strategic goals is to build the capacities of the teachers in the schools we support and on August On August 13, 2016 KEEP took another step in that direction as eight teachers from two government (public) school and one community school participated in a one day training that focused on Strategies to promote reading in young children and strategies that promote child centered learning.
Mrs. Julie Lewis, a Reading Specialist from Pennsylvania, USA was in Liberia for another program and volunteered several hours of her time to work with a few of the teachers KEEP works with around Reading.
Julie’s training focused on the 5 pillars of reading and how important it is to know the types of learning styles and phonemic awareness. Her presentation also covered “Sight Words” and how to get students to learn more sight words each week. Techniques and strategies to use to get them to learn the words and read better and more fluently. Julie came along with a colleague, Rita Doidge, who is also in Liberia for a training with the Liberia Reads program. They provided 2 sets of sight words kits that will help guide the teachers each week for twenty five weeks, with the students adding 5 words each week to their vocabulary.
Aaron Jell also happens to be in Liberia for a personal visit and he also volunteered to a reading evaluation of the students during the vacation, do some basic art work with them and provide training to the teachers on “Strategies that Promote Child-Centered Learning”.
We are also particularly happy that the teacher from the Small Bong Mines Public school in Gbarpolu county made it to Monrovia to be a part of the training. Mr. Massaquoi is the sole teacher at his school which has over 100 students, with the numbers growing each year. He found the training very useful and looks forward to using the kit provided to improve his work with the students in Gbarpolu.
About The Trainers:
Julie Lewis holds a M.A. in Elementary Education from Maywood University and received her Reading Specialist degree from Binghamton University. She has taught in elementary schools as both a classroom teacher and as a reading specialist for over 10 years.
Julie has worked with the Liberia Education Project, as well as other organizations, providing on-going training for teachers in Liberia. She lives with her husband, Eric, and their 10 children in northeastern Pennsylvania
Aaron Jell is a qualified Secondary School teacher with over fifteen years of teaching experience in mainstream and Special Educational Needs schools of all ages; specialist therapeutic teacher for traumatized and vulnerable young people with complex social, educational, behavioral and health needs; and educational consultant and creative practitioner in the UK and African countries. He has led educational and creative workshops in East, West and Southern Africa as well as conducted monitoring, evaluation and learning reviews of educational projects in Sierra Leone and Uganda. He has a Masters Degree with Distinction in Education and International Development from the University of London’s Institute Of Education, a Graduate Teacher Certificate of Education (GTCE), having achieved Qualified Teaching Status (QTS) in 2001, and a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Art, Design and Media.
Aaron is married with 3 children, has a keen interest in reading and fine art and is an active artist, professional graphic designer and amateur writer/novelist.
Thanks so much Julie, Aaron And Rita