Reading Liberia – Field Notes – Day 1

Contributed by: Meddie Mayanja and Charlie Temple
October 11, 2010 – Day 1

Experienced educator Charlie Temple is in Monrovia, Liberia to support CODE’s local Reading Liberia project partners We CARE Foundation. The project is working with 14 schools (12 more will join by end of October) in the Monrovia area to improve reading skills among students at K-6 grades. After his first day (October 11), Charlie reflects on Reading Liberia’s work:

“…There certainly seems to be a lot of enthusiasm and energy generated by the project. The schools get four, 4-day workshops, each followed by a one-day “implementation workshop,” all spread over a year. Four teachers are recruited from each school for this training. The workshops are conducted by two teachers from an original project school, an LTL, and a “shadow” LTL. Those teachers who are serving as trainers were given two days of train-the-trainer preparation.

The four teachers who were trained in Reading Liberia workshops are also training their whole faculties. For this they offer a four-day workshop in August, followed by a series of Saturday workshops from November on through the year.

Monitoring of the teachers in the project is done once or twice a month by the original 4 teachers from that school that were trained by the project (these are supervised by LTL’s). The Vice Principal of the school is counted on for on-site supervision, too. Monitors asks teachers about visits to the principal, what strategies are being used by teachers, whether the teacher looks comfortable, if the students are engaged, whether writing notebooks are being used, whether students had eyes on print, etc. I will scan and distribute copies.

Book distribution seems to be working well. There are approximately 3,800  books available so far, and they are rotated every six weeks in batches of 60 (22 titles) to the schools. Some batches contain a group of 20 copies of the same title, and they hope to raise that to 30 copies. These books are provided only to the four teachers who are chosen from each school for training. Other teachers can check out books from We Care.

There are some challenges, too.

The team reported that teachers do little talking to each other about teaching. So they have started Reading Liberia clubs in each school, and have designated two reading coaches per school. These folks should meet twice a month to encourage project activities—but the idea is to leave them plenty of room, since they are a club…”