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■Literacy Class for the Youth (Timor-Leste) (2007/10/31)

When you hear the word “Literacy Class”, you may usually imagine it is for small children, but this class is for older children (youths). These youths strongly want to learn how to read and write. On Tuesday, October 23rd at 13:00, the Literacy class for youths aged between ten and seventeen years started. The lesson is for ninety minute. After the lesson, students move to the library to read books and finish the program of the day. Today, I would like to report on this class.

In Comoro Market, there was a youth who wanted to learn literacy but who was embarrassed to learn with small children. Literacy teacher, Ms. Odette walked around the market and asked youths if they were interested in literacy class at the Youth Center. Due to her great efforts, 6 of men and women aged between 12 and 16 years joined the first lesson.

The lesson started by self-introduction of the students. The students informed the class of their name, age, and the place of residence. Then, they pronounced the alphabets (A, B, C…). Everyone could pronounce them successfully. Then, they wrote the alphabets in notebooks and said them out. After that, they moved on to learning vocabularies using the alphabets, pronounced and wrote them in notebooks… Originally the class was scheduled for one hour and half, but it continued for two hours. The teacher circled the class to make sure everyone of them understood. Students themselves helped each other during the lesson. There was help and corporation in the classroom. After the lesson, we moved to library for reading and finished the whole lesson.

□Interview 1

Name: Lidia do Carmo (Female) Age: 15 Place to live: Comoro Market

Q1. Whey did you want to join this course?
I joined this course because I want to be able to read and write. Later I would like to go back to school.

Q2. What is your impression of the class and the teacher?
I like the class and the teacher.

Q3.What is your dream?
My dream is to become a singer. In my house there is a record player and VHS. I listen to the music and watch videos very often to practice my singing.

□Interview 2
Name: Amaru Guterres (Male) Age: 16 Place to live: Comoro Market

Q1. Why did you join this course?
I want to be able to speak Portuguese for the future.

Q2. What is your impression of the class and the teacher?
I feel very comfortable in the classroom and the teacher is very nice.

Q3. What is your dream?
My dream is to be a social worker so that I can help people.


□Interview 3
Name: Odete da Costa (Teacher) Age: 29 Residence: Santa Cruz

Q1. Why did you start this course?
I started this course because I want them to be able to write and read so that they can go back to school. It will open a door to the future.

Q2. What do you think about the students?
It’s only been 2 days but I already see some progress. Before joining the class, they couldn’t read or write at all, but now, they can read and write a little more. They all enjoy the lesson.

Q3. What are the challenges of teaching and advantage of teaching them compared with little ones?
The challenge is that they cannot read or write at this moment. The advantages are that they can understand the lesson although they cannot read or write, and it is easier to teach them compared with little ones. Little ones are hard to teach sometimes.

Q4. I know you like teaching, but what is the most rewarding moment of teaching?
I enjoy teaching when students are enjoying the class. I also like reading books with them. And lastly I feel very proud when they are able to read and write.

Each one of the students is very serious and positive towards learning. I could feel their energy throughout the lesson. I also admire their commitment to join this class. Some of them might feel hesitant to join it because they are already at a certain age where they should be able to read and write. Each one of them has his/her goal to achieve. The literacy teacher cut her lunch hour to conduct this class. She really thinks about them first. This class is a great example of listening to what the community needs and made it to action.

Reported by Daisuke Shizuya
Project Coordinator in East Timor
Nonprofit Organization Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK)
4-3-22 ShimoOchiai Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 161-0033 Japan
Tel:03-6279-1126  Fax:03-6279-1127
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