Saturday, July 23, 2011
¿Vamos a leer?
Throughout the past few weeks, we have focused on identifying potential themes in the stories we read, generating summaries, and connecting with characters' feelings. The girls were more than enthusiastic to share their connections with the characters. As time went on, they also were eager to share their "resumens" of the books we read. I have seen a lot of improvement.
What proved to be difficult was having deep discussions around theme. The first few times we read together, there were few hands raised when I asked, "What do we think the author is trying to teach us? What is the broad idea or message in the story (aka theme)?" even after defining and discussing what theme is and means. Initially, those who did answer, came up with very general ideas. With time and questioning, using textual evidence and several simple examples, we learned how to draw conclusions about what each author may be trying to portray.
It was exciting for the Yahoskas to realize that there can be many correct answers to the questions I was asking. All one needs is reasonable evidence to prove a point, and with textual backup, almost anything can be argued. I loved watching the smiles on the girls faces when I validated their responses. Having watched students in Richmond, California light up when being complimented and validated, even for repeated responses already given, I knew this aid me in drawing more of the Yahoskas into discussions. The teaching profession easily transcends countries' borders :)
I also want to thank my college professors and mentors - they never gave up on me and believed I could be a successful Haverford student despite my rural, public school background. Any student has the ability to achieve a high-quality education, and Haverford gave me a chance! These students in Nicaragua deserve these chances as well.