Beccy Allen, Stave House in the Sahara's volunteer English teacher, shares with us some thoughts about her experience teaching young Saharawi children so far... (versión en español más abajo)
"So, after the first three weeks of English teaching as part of Stave House in the Sahara, I can safely say that I am excited about the children's learning. These young people have opened my eyes wider than ever to how hungry young minds can be for education and creativity. They love the games we play and are eager to answer and are getting better and better at listening to one another. They are making leaps in what they can remember and say and are becoming thoughtful in the way they support others who maybe struggle with something we working on at any given time.
Working with them on English every day is brilliant as you can see the progress made in a week. After the long summer break they were at first struggling to recall a lot of what they had learned last year. After three weeks of immersion for an hour at a time, working with a teacher who can only help them learn through the target language itself alongside gesture, we have developed our own ways of communicating and understanding one another and everything from last year is coming flooding back to them. They are becoming fearless in taking on board new vocabulary rather than looking to someone to translate the words for them.
Our classes switch between moments of calm and moments of playful energy. The children are inquisitive and bold and don't shy away from answering even when they are unsure. We focus on listening to my voice and all the strange and wonderful new sounds of the English words they are learning. They repeat over and over but also learn to question each other, learning to talk about themselves and others. We listen to English music and look at photos of England, many aspects of which are totally alien to them. We laugh at the way I pronounce their names but that helps them know that I am learning just as they are.
Bring on the next couple of months!"
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