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Monday, 20 June 2016

Your Voice Matters

Your Voice Matters.

Reflections of today.
Making learners realize about the importance to speak up.

Since that first early moment I got the contact with a group of teens this year, I felt something special, that something which makes you think they are so quiet and there must be a reason for that.

First days I got the pleasure to be co-tutor with a Math teacher an incredible educator and human being, thanks Roger for that awesome support and your amazing encouragement.

Days go on and I realize, those kids wanted to have a book open on page “34” or something similar, some of them even asked me: Miss, when are we going to do grammar worksheets?
It was sad to notice they thought the way of learning was through a paper, then I started thinking on the idea about how to make them become noisy in the good sense of the word, of course; as everytime I saw them, their faces wanted to cry out many stuff, but something inside did not let them do that. Fear? A bad concept of respect? Or maybe the lack of being listened?
Bingo!!!, it was a mix of all of them, but one  got the first place: they were not being listened, they got information priceless aim for some colleagues, and what about  their thoughts, opinions, critics, beliefs, ideas of those teens. Unfortunately, they  were sadly dead.

Somehow there was a way those teens need to express their sayings, we started by working on collaborative tasks:  collaborative writing, collaborative speaking activities, collaborative reading and also collaborative listening, the last one has been the hardest as they could not listen to each other, Why? Nobody remained them, the importance of being listened and being respectful among peers.
Little by little with warm up actvities base on values according to their age, because believe me no teen would care about values stuff for us adults, so I had to be on their shoes and think about the way they do, and mainly how they have been feeling.

It was amazing and the most remarkable time to see how the groups of those teens have started to critize things, say they disagree and give supportive reasons, how tolerance flows up in the class, and how they realize there was time to be aware their voice matters.

They were learning English, but nobody noticed , Why? Because I was not on page 34 exercise 3b, EXACTLY!! I was in another syllabus, the humanizing syllabus, the one for building awareness, which is vital for every individual as  the need to speak up, they could show how great their creativity is, and little by little  go deeply in what they want to defend and say to adults.
Still remember once a group  told me, what about if you bring the school authorities,teachers, and our parents and we make them sit down to give them a talk, the big questions: "Will they listen to us?" " Who knows?" " Who cares?" “WE DO!!”

Let’s do it!! That’s how my baby proposal has grown to make my learners become speakers, to express their inside, to inform what really happens in a teen life, to educate we adults to stop labeling teens for being teens and please think beyond.

Last month, they finally could understand a test is a paper , a grade is a number, but it was not as significant as the reward to feel they do something more than completing a paper, I asked them to go over Lima to work on a Project of cultural awareness and realize both sides of our country, not just the pinky one, also to check and remember our tragedy times of terrorism , those times most of their parents lived as I did, to ask people in the streets what they think about a particular place and realize life is not only school, as in a few months they will be leave  school and go to  the true world, and they should be aware  they need to be ready. My best reward the great satisfaction they did produce the language in what they do enjoy and many of them have discovered the ties of empathy among themselves.

I am not sure how many got me, but my sensation does not lie to me, I made those teens believe it is time to close books, it is time to talk about the news around the world, around our own town, it was time to think about how we can contribute in a better way to this society,  it was time to say: 


In honour of my fifth graders!