Friday, 12 February 2016

11.2. Vamos a jugar!

What I have learned so far in my voluntary experience here in Morazan, El Salvador, is that here as well the children do love bingo. I started teaching English in a little local school already some weeks ago with an idea that playing games, activating the children is the right way to start teaching a new language. I might have been right. One day we started to practice the English way to pronunciate the alphabets and, in order to do that, we played some bingo. Now, if only the children would decide by themselves, playing bingo would be pretty much all we would do in the English lessons.

One morning in the school. Playing with the marbles before the classes. The rules are really simple: you just try to hit the marbles of other players when your turn comes. The kids make it look much easier than it actually is.
I have been a volunteer in Proyecto Consciente for more than a month now, and thought that now it would be about time to start the blog Lilo (a worker in the Proyecto and a friend) mentioned me about. So I came here in the beginning of the year. To work in Proyecto Consciente, an organization based in a city called San Francisco Gotera. I wanted to teach, and to learn. This project caught my attention because it seemed that it wants to educate in a way they still don’t educate too much these days. This project works for critical and creative education. How I understand it by now, it is this kind of education where the direction is shown to the participants to look at, not given the information to swallow as whole. (Here some information about the project:

So what I have been up to here so far? I have participated in education events with the local youngters. We discussed about topics such as how to work in a group as a member and as a facilitator. Also we have discussed a lot about gender, and how we see the way the society sometimes perceives gender. As we are in this Proyecto Consciente, the education is made in a critical and creative manner. In practice that means that had to think. Had to talk as well. Maybe that’s why think I learned quite a bit, and I can even say that we had a lot of fun as well.
This is one of the moments in the trainings when you had think less.

That’s how Proyecto Consciente wants to make a difference. By showing a direction that people can look at in order to understand how much they know and understand already. Communication plays a big part when learning this way. That’s why if you consider coming here as a volunteer, I encourage you to try to remove the possible barriers you have and encourage yourself to share your thoughts. Also games are important. I have had the opportunity to act as a facilitator of some events. In these situations group games might come in handy. The coming weekend we are another educational event, and I am happy to have a couple ideas of group games already.

And then about the bingo. As an international volunteer here, I am given quite a bit of freedom to plan my own projects. So far I have taught (mainly) English in one local school. What warms my heart is that the children greet me in the morning in plain English already. “Good morning”, they say. I wonder if they still remember “good afternoon”, which might be harder to remember.

I encourage you to come here teaching English to the local children. But when it comes to the language, don’t expect too high results in a few months. My grand goal right now is that the children are able to answer when I ask them “how are you”, instead of repeating my question as an answer. These things take some time, and a lot of practise. Hopefully they have done their homework for Friday. But anyway we have had fun in the classes, which I see just as important as the English they learn. Sometimes we have even had fun in English. This, again, owns a lot to the games.
Playing a game with a ball. Look how much fun we have! If I remember right this was a game where everyone just told how they feel this morning and why. For now, we do this game in Spanish ;)

The kids just can´t wait for the game to start, believe me. Just have to explain the rules first.
This is the first week I will work from Monday to Friday, since I started in another school as well. Mostly, as told, I teach English. The exception is Wednesday, when I have a class of art with the fourth graders. However, the teachers and students as well seem to have a lot of enthusiasm about English. Yesterday the teacher of the fourth graders even seemed a little taken aback about my plans to have art lessons instead of English lessons. Hopefully I will get her, and especially the children, excited about my art classes as well. Maybe I will try art classes in English.
This is my room. It is in the same building with the office/the training venue. My room has all the commodities, such as a window and a toilet as well. The vibes in the building are really communal, people coming and going. I like it that way,
One little piece of the nature of El Salvador. There are these little hidden rivers with these little river ponds. And if you pay attention you can also see the little waterfall.