The work we are doing with the Leh/Ladakh Schools and TCV is some of the most rewarding we have done outside of our roles here at the American Embassy School. We chose to support the schools connection with TCV because it is a way we can give something to a people struggling to create a new life after they have been displaced from their home country. The extension of those efforts to the schools of Leh/Ladakh seemed like a natural extension of what we were working on.
We would welcome you if you would like to get involved. Work can be done to support infrastructure, technology development, libraries, teaching materials, school supplies, and teacher training to name a few. Have you got an idea on how you or your group can help us reach out to the schools in Ladakh or to the Tibetan Children’s Village Schools in India? Let us know.
If you have an idea to share or want to get in touch, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comment box below.
After our recent workshops with TCV and Leh/Ladakh teachers we have compiled a list of things that would be useful for helping them move forward:
TCV/LADAKH-LEH NEEDS for TEACHERS and STUDENTS
In class and library resources are needed in all areas
Books for libraries are needed at all age levels KG through upper High School and across genres, class sets of books at a variety of levels, vocabulary resources at a variety of levels, listening resources, mentor texts and ESL resources. Additionally, professional books of a wide variety, sample benchmarks and standards, curriculum planning samples, unit plan samples, and lesson plan samples would be very useful.
The E-Granary how it is working for teachers at TCV, and what is needed to make it more useful for teachers and students (including what kinds of specific information TCV would like to see on the E-Granary.)
The teachers and students at TCV are very happy to have the E-Granary. 126 computers are connected to the E-Granary. Teachers are using it to develop and enhance their lessons and students are using it for research. More multimedia material in earth science, and English audio stories and songs to teach English skills are needed. Links political science, geography, simple science labs and materials for business and careers—specifically careers in India would be especially welcome. More training is needed for new teachers who have no knowledge of how to use the E-Granary.
Integrating technology into the classroom
Another area of partnership interest that TCV expressed is assistance in learning ways to integrate technology into the classroom. For example, how teachers might utilize the library computers during class time by partnering students on the computers in the library to research information. The headmaster specifically expressed interest in having AES students partner with students at TCV to learn tech skills.
The possibility of developing teacher partnerships and exchanges between TCV and AES including the possibility of teachers coming to TCV during the AES spring holiday if teacher partnerships develop along that line.
TCV teachers are interested in this kind of exchange. Both AES and TCV would like to see what other kinds of exchanges can be explored in the future as well including more student exchanges.
TCV and Leh are both interested in seeing how goals are connected to unit and lesson planning across the core areas. We will explore examples of curriculum units and take a look at the structure we use. We will want to talk about connections to overarching understandings, standards and benchmarks, and unit and lesson planning.
The possibility of further teacher training for Leh/TCV teachers at AES during AES teachers’ December holiday, and what areas of training would be of particular interest to TCV teachers.
Leh/TCV teachers are interested in this kind of exchange. Interest for this workshop are in these areas: Planning and writing curriculum, language acquisition related to content areas—English as a second language, and how to teach in a content area to ESL students—their needs and approaches that address those needs. A second strand for TCV is technology in the classroom, using the E-Granary and developing more materials for it. We need to look at children’s work together, and focus on assessment—what it shows teachers about children’s gaps and what they need to help them develop their skills, how to assess for skills vs. content knowledge.
Bilingual needs in curriculum delivery and language acquisition as students transition from instruction in Tibetan/Ladakhi to instruction in English and Tibetan, and then prepare to take an exit exam (prepared by the Indian Education Dept) in English.
The Indian government education system, at the end of their high school career, requires a certain score on this exit exam in order for children to go on to college. When at TCV Dharmsala in September 2011, Dr. Catherine Frazier explained several basic concepts about language acquisition, affirming how TCV develops a firm grounding in the students’ first language, Tibetan, before introducing a 2nd language. She described it can take up to seven years for a second language learner to become proficient in a second language in order to discuss ideas in an academic setting on a level with a native speaker. This proficiency is dependent on the child’s academic language being nurtured in the educational setting. Becoming academically fluent requires a different kind of instruction than a child would get for basic communication skills used to express ones’ self conversationally.
Teachers at TCV do not have any ESL training. TCV teachers are especially concerned with how they might better understand how to address students’ needs as English language learners while teaching in their various content areas. TCV teachers would like sample textbooks that show teachers how to teach for ESL students alongside the subject content so that they can write their own textbooks to reflect these ideas.
AES teachers explored ideas of integrating curriculum and how teaching and assessing for skills would allow for more efficiency in teaching curriculum as well as deeper learning so that students learn to think complexly, rather than only focusing on gaining content knowledge in various subject areas.
AES teachers at the September 2011 meeting at TCV in Dharamsala described assessment for learning/understanding, and how “failures” can be used as a means to gather information about what teachers need to teach and what students still need to learn. Proficiency assessments can be used to determine what students know and allow the teacher to determine where the gaps are in learning so that they might better understand and reteach with perhaps different strategies. The child shows you what you need to teach next. Curriculum assessments should be designed to look at students’ skills and growth as a continuum. Interactive cross-disciplinary units can reinforce language acquisition if connections are created where all content areas are used to teach both language and core skills.
The possibility of high school students volunteering to work together with TCV students and or teachers during spring holiday to show TCV students how to use technology for learning.
Catherine Fraizer will look into the possibility of AES students or teachers able to train new teachers how to use the E-Granary at their spring holiday. Both AES and TCV would like to see other kinds of exchanges can be explored in the future as well, such as exchanges on the high school’s mini-courses in February/March where students from AES might join TCV students to learn how to do Tibetan style painting at the Kangra valley campus (as one example).
A brief summary – How TCV teachers teach reading and writing.
AES teachers asked how TCV teachers teach reading and writing. TCV teachers give students stories and have them create questions about what they are reading and then answer them. Teachers ask students questions about their reading. Teachers require students to write book reports. TCV teachers have students keep journals where they write on topics of their choice in grade 6. These can include cut outs of images from magazines that show areas of interest. They also assign students topics to write on and teach them how to organize essays with topic sentences. TCV teachers would like additional independent reading books so they can give students more choices in reading and boost their interest in reading. They would also like ideas of how to help students think about what their reading while they are reading—how to make images in their minds, make connections to the world around them and their own lives or to other pieces of literature, how to make predictions, and develop inferences.
Print and multi-media resources for teaching
TCV/Leh English teachers would like resources of book titles and web addresses or other media resources that can help them better deliver instruction. All books schools have received thus far have been greatly appreciated (mostly TCV). Leh/Ladakh schools generally have no libraries. English teachers were interested in receiving independent reading books for students to enhance reading choices, and inquired about how to teach students to read more deeply and respond to books while in the process of reading a book.