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Testimonial on connecting learning to students' real lives

From journalist, law graduate, English teacher in high school in Port-au-Prince, it never occurred to me that one day I would find myself in a fifth grade classroom. Anseye pou Ayiti in its vision to equip a network of civic leaders so that all children can get quality education in Haiti, recruited me in 2018, after going through 4 stages, to work in a fifth grade classroom in the city of Gonayiv, Atibonit department, kafou leksis locality (institution mixte Emmanuel). The context and situation was very difficult, because I didn't know anyone in Gonayiv. But, after a few months, I started to adapt. The school space did not quite meet the criteria of the teaching/learning process, but the use of many tools on transformational leadership, active pedagogy, positive discipline and many more helped me stick to endure.

In the classroom, I had a student named Lovelie FRANCOIS who had a very hard time joining the letters together. The reading issue was a challenge for her. After this realizatio, I talked to school management and they told me that this student spent over three (3) years unschooled. She left school when she was in grade 4 due to falling ill. As she is really overaged, they had to let her stay in grade 5. I had to create some separate time for her and go over the curriculum of lower grades to help her catch up. Unfortunately, the school year ended and she did not reach the level to go to a higher grade. The management proposed that I move her ahead with the class, I explained to them how important it was to continue to support the student. Thus, in the second year of the APA program, I was trained on academic rigor and many other tools that allowed me to teach in a different way. I tried to connect all the lesson sessions with the reality of her daily life, I combined her vision of becoming a “nurse” with the sessions as well. These techniques made the sessions more relatable to her daily life so, after each session, she got to make a synthesis. Now, the student has become one of the brightest of the classroom, especially in mathematics, social science and experimental science. 

Finally, thanks to APA, which is a separate movement, which manages to recruit professionals from many areas to come and join hands together, so that every child, especially children in the provincial towns, can get a quality education. I can conclude that connecting learning to the real life of learners is a tool that constitutes the basis of success because it allows learners to be more motivated and more active in the construction of learning. 

The problems are there and they are many, but the solution is there and it is possible!

Nelson Hilaire

CIvic Leader