Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday's Torch Story

The object of education is to prepare the young
to educate themselves throughout their lives.
~ Robert M. Hutchins

One of my students is really struggling. And I mean REALLY struggling. I talked with her after class one night, and discovered that, as a young child growing up in Mexico, she attended school for exactly - brace yourself - one year.

Yes, that's right, ONE year. After first grade, at the tender age of 7 years old, her parents pulled her out of school and set her to work around the house and farm, to help take care of the family and, in particular, her younger siblings.

Forget English - reading and writing in her native tongue of Spanish is difficult for her! :(

Among other things, the weekly flash card homework was proving particularly impossible for her. So I decided to come up with an alternative. I purchased this big, bright children's book:

Each of the 14 pages has a theme and 7-8 illustrated words from within that theme. Here is the first page, for example:

With my husband's help, I recorded a CD with 14 tracks - one per page. For each page, I said the title (always in the center), and then each word (going clockwise from the upper left hand corner), three times. First in Spanish, and then in English two times. I left a pause in between each utterance that was long enough for her to repeat what she had just heard.

Her new weekly homework assignment is to learn the vocabulary on one page, by listening to the CD over and over again, until she can say the English words BEFORE I do.

Next week will be her first test (on page 1). I really hope this method works for her! (It certainly can't be any worse than the flashcards she was trying to learn up until now.)

Sometimes I look back on my early years of schooling and am disgruntled that I can't remember the dates of an important event in history or how to do a geometry proof. But my childhood education definitely accomplished one thing - I have been able to educate myself ever since... Working with this woman makes me realize just how lucky I am.


Zep said...

I don't care what level you're on, life is about always learning new things each and every day! We never stop learning. There's many lessons to be taught to us if we only take the time to learn them! Good Job Teacher!! I be you're learning a lot through teaching her.

Rachel said...

Looks like a great idea!!! I love to learn new things. I'm always reading and studying something.

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...

Teach and learn. What a reward.