January 13, 2017
It's officially been three weeks since our Enrichment Year students arrived at ASYV. And what a three weeks it’s been! Relationships continue to become stronger and stronger within the families, and friendships have formed across the grade. Kids lovingly refer to one another as “brother” or “sister”, which is just one of the many magical components of ASYV. And, there is certain level of trust amongst the students and the staff, which in many cases, is a new concept for these kids.
In addition to getting to know one another, the weeks before the older grades arrive at the Village are utilized to teach English Enrichment and Computer Literacy classes.
English Enrichment classes take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for three hours each. These classes are taught by fellows (Cousins) with the assistance of interns (previous ASYV students who are now Big Brothers/Sisters). These classes are meant to help assess the English-levels of the students, so our English teachers can better evaluate each student’s English proficiency and know what topics need extra attention. It is also meant to act as a foundation for their future studies at ASYV.
In just 6 classes we’ve seen the students opening up, asking questions and speaking more and more English everyday!
Our first few weeks of classes were focused on the importance of learning English as well as more tactical topics such as the difference between L and R (two letters that are frequently confused by Rwandans since they are often blended together in Kinyarwanda) and knowing when to use sentence starters such as “I like” and “I have”. This is done through partner work, games and written assignments. The ultimate task will be a one-minute presentation in front of the class, where each student will have the chance to talk about him or herself. This will be a major opportunity for students to share what they’ve learned in terms of reading, writing and speaking!
One intern had the great idea to ask the students to anonymously write down why they want to learn English. It was encouraging to receive notes like: “While English is hard, I know it will help me be successful in my education”
Everyday we are seeing more and more students gain the confidence to have conversations in English – and this is just the third week!
In addition, Computer Literacy classes have been a great element in the Enrichment Year orientation schedule, as they have served as a launching point for the more intensive computer courses that will be taken throughout the course of each students’ time at ASYV. In these classes, students have primarily been focused on improving their typing skills to ensure they are proficient in using software like Microsoft Office and preparing reports.
With the older students arriving at the Village in only a few short days, the Enrichment Year kids are both excited and apprehensive about what this year will bring. One thing is for sure, this family is about to get a whole lot bigger – and we all know, the bigger the family, the better.
Submitted by Lauren Gross, Village Fellow 2017