June 4, 2012
In the literacy program, there are three tests to evaluate the progress of the women. The tests also allow us to improve our teaching methods to help them learn as much as possible. Last week was the first test and I went to every literacy group to administer theses evaluations with Jorge, the country director in Guatemala.
The first evaluation consisted of small questions to see if the women can read and understand simple words as well as demonstrate their basic writing skills.
On the advice of last year’s interns, we decided to administer the evaluations one-to-one to get the best results and eliminate the help that they can give and receive if they all do it at the same time. I was really impressed because some women were able to read and write very well. However, most of them were saying, at the beginning, that they were unable to do the evaluation. Little by little, with a lot of encouragement and positive reinforcement, most of them were able to read the letters, then the syllables, the words and finally the sentence. As well they were able to understand the meaning, find a good answer and write it. In some cases, it would have taken a long time to finish the evaluation, but eventually they got over their fear that they couldn't do it. The advantage of doing it one-to-one was really important, because it permitted them to realise that they were much better than what they thought. That way, they could objectively see their progress and they were really proud of it.
Being here for two months now, I try to do a lot of games and learning exercises that makes the classes interesting for the women. I was really happy to see the results of these efforts in the successful evaluations. What a big reward for me
when some women of different groups ask me at the end of the class what I am going to bring for them next week! The teachers and I work hard to try to improve each woman's capacity in literacy, but with these evaluations I also have seen the effects that the Literacy Program has on the self-confidence and personal esteem of the participants, which is much more than I expected at the beginning of this project!