Tags: AmeriCorps, americorps partners, Basic Adult Literacy, best practices, community, friends, professional development, student stories, students, teaching, teaching strategies, training, tutoring, Volunteer, volunteers, Writing
On Saturday November 5, 2011, LCNV hosted an ESOL Writing In-Service, which was presented by Tanya Conover of Prince William County Public Schools Adult Education Program. In addition to providing participants with valuable tools (a binder full of goodies such as research articles, story examples, and lesson plans), Tanya prompted attendees to reflect upon writing as a tool for students to accomplish their goals. Many LCNV learners aspire to obtain a job, a driver’s license, a G.E.D., or American citizenship. All of these goals require writing skills at some level, such as filling out an application or taking a test. Not only is writing a practical skill in today’s world, but it is also a powerful method of conveying life stories. Many LCNV students have stories that they want to share with their teachers and fellow students. Tanya encouraged in-service participants to get students writing by having them write about their most memorable experiences and publishing their stories in a format, such as a class newspaper.
One student’s school story really struck me. Zarghoona wrote: “I am very sad. I have five children. I can’t read and write to teach my children. When I was little I cried to my mother and father: Why not send me to school? In Afghanistan they killed a girl going to school. She was my friend. One day the plane bombed the school. The car burned. One day I went to school. The Taliban tasered my friend’s face. He came to hit me. I threw my books on the floor. He hit me.”
By sharing her story, Zarghoona practiced valuable writing skills, such as sentence construction and expression of ideas. More importantly, she also shared a very powerful memory that reminds us all about the value of education. Learning should be a very personal and student-centered experience, and writing is an integral part of that.