We describe Reading Liberia as a comprehensive readership program that aims to improve the quality of education in Liberia by sharing knowledge and building capacity through professional mentorship. But it’s so much more.
Only a few months in and we’re already seeing real impact.... It’s been a pleasure to work with such a talented team -- and we mean the combined strengths of “those of us from afar” and the Liberian Teacher Leaders and the Liberian couple Michael and Yvonne Weah of the WE-CARE Library.
It’s been a rich, rich time...and the Liberian Teacher Leader’s have just outdone themselves. They offered and debriefed a coordinated demonstration lesson today that Wendy and I agreed was as good as anything we have ever seen. Our Liberian Teacher Leaders were able to tie the strategies and ABC framework together, relate them to the Liberian curriculum and to the lesson planning model that the teachers here are required to use, in a way that clarified the process and raised the bar.
The realities are challenging...and the scope of the needs can/do feel daunting....but that is so quickly counter-balanced by the dedication and talent of those who are part of this project. Anyone would be more than encouraged to hear the comments of the teachers, principals and authors/illustrators on the first morning about the difference that the project has already made: to their teaching; to their perception of their role as principals; and to the way they’re approaching writing/drawing for children.
We’ve been trying to tease out just what it is that is making this project “work” -- and our experiences this trip have absolutely confirmed the ‘brilliance’ of the design and the wisdom of the up-front-and ongoing-investment-in shared planning. The decision to position the Liberian Teacher Leaders in the foreground, both as presenters and facilitators during the workshops, and as individuals each connected to one of the pilot schools has made such a powerful difference to the capacity of the participants to access the concepts and strategies presented.
It has been wonderful for everyone having the Canadian author Kathy Stinson with us — she gave a superb workshop to the entire group on the first day. It’s clear that the writers are gaining a great deal from her insights and experience. What is so special about this project is how the differing needs of those in different roles are acknowledged and professionally supported: writers, illustrators, teachers, principals; Liberian Teacher Leaders....but that there are all sorts of ways that we come together to build with our combined strengths.
Alison Preece, CODE Volunteer Trainer, University of Victoria
Wendy Saul, CODE Volunteer Trainer, University of Missouri