This is an interview conducted by Christine Bowman, Marketing Content Manager at Reading Horizons, about my experience in India. This information was used for a press release. As I move forward with other English teaching and training adventures (I depart for the Middle East next Tuesday!), I thought I would post this interview on my blog since it captures some highlights of my India experience.
|Students at the Peery School using Reading Horizons|
Heidi spent two and a half weeks with school administrators, teachers, and students to train, observe, mentor, and model teach literacy strategies from the reading program software that was donated by Reading Horizons a year ago.
|Students gathering in the dining hall|
This is a snippet of the interview that I had with Heidi last week.
Heidi: The last time I went to Chennai, I was there to train the summer volunteers so that they would know how to use the Reading Horizons reading method to help students with their English and literacy. Volunteers only stay for a short time before they are replaced by new volunteers, so the original idea was to setup a literacy training program that could be sustained with the high turnover rate of each new volunteer who went to the Peery School to help children learn to speak and read English.
|Mary, English teacher at the Peery School|
Heidi: That’s difficult. There are so many, so I’ll start with this one. Children who attend the Peery School for Rising Stars live on campus for two primary reasons. Many of the leprosy colonies are too far away for a daily commute to school; and children who live at home are sent out at night to beg.
|Families together in the mango grove|
|Posing with Sagayamary and Christaraj and their ice cream cones|
I also remember the day that I went to the Bindu Art School. This is a place where adults with leprosy create art that they sell to attain financial independence. And although I purchased a beautiful painting, I was most amazed by the happy smiles (some without teeth) of these beautiful, resourceful people who by our standards having nothing – their existence would be termed pitiful. Yet they are happy, grateful people.
Christine: So, what’s next? Where do we go from here to help bring literacy to India?
|Conducting the teacher training meeting|
Heidi: There are a lot of ESL needs in India. That’s why Reading Horizons will be helping with an initiative to bring 700 volunteers to the Peery School for Rising Stars this summer. RSO will be recruiting the best and the brightest business, medical, and education majors from the top schools in the U.S. this year. Each volunteer will be learning the Reading Horizons method via the Online Workshop and online meetings. The emphasis will be on sustaining literacy through one-on-one reading tutoring.
|Posing with kids and their housemother and my two sisters|
(See my other posts on my experience by clicking here and here.)