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Teaching Literacy at Dawasamu District School

By Keren Wakefield 2 years ago
Categories Fiji Islands

For the past two months I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the GVI team at Dawasamu District School.  Having been placed in the class eight, I was initially quite nervous, as at home I teach class one and two whose needs are vastly different.  Thankfully, I soon discovered that I quite enjoy working with the older ages, as I am able to spend less time focusing on classroom behavior and social skills and more time teaching content and engaging in discussion.IMG_3938After having told the class teacher, Master Nabogi, that I am in fact a teacher at home, I was offered the opportunity to teach whole class English for the duration of my time at DDS, something that other volunteers have not yet had the chance to do.  For the first hour each morning of the week, I have been working with the students in a number of areas, including grammar and punctuation, word meaning, and writing composition.  Most recently, we have begun planning and writing narratives, a task which has proved quite difficult but enjoyable for the students.  Once the drafts have been edited, I plan to have the students publish their work complete with illustrations, giving them something special to take home to show their parents. I also teach Art,Music and PE, I enjoy planning and delivering these lessons and the students enjoy the opportunity to be creative, plus its so much fun!

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Also currently taking place at Dawasamu Disctrict School are Running Records. Starting this week, GVI Volunteers have begun carrying out the Running Records of Reading with students in Classes 3-8.  These assessments provide teachers with a better understanding of each students’ current reading ability, than would be gained simply from listening to their reading in class.  From the one-on-one assessment teachers are able to see how often a student is making a reading error and what that error is based on – whether it be an error in meaning, the structure of the sentence, or a visual error.  Running Records are a timed assessment, which means teachers are also able to assess oral reading fluency.  Upon completion of the text students are asked a set of comprehension questions which assess both their literal and inferential understanding.  Running Records whilst incredibly useful are a time consuming assessment, and so it is wonderful that GVI Volunteers are able facilitate this at DDS.

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Personally, I have enjoyed carrying out the assessments, as it has given me the opportunity to work one-on-one with students who are not part of my usual teaching group.  It is most pleasing to note that after compiling the results, 15 of my students came out at ‘above expected’, and 6 students ‘at expected’.  The small group working ‘below expected’ are those who I will continue to work with daily, in the hopes of building their confidence as they prepare for the move in to secondary school.

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I have a great deal of respect for the GVI staff, DDS staff, and my fellow volunteers, and I know that this wonderful partnership will continue to benefit the beautiful children at Dawasamu District School for many years to come.

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