English Teacher – On Board
Just one year ago the idea was planted to establish a US team to assist with English Language acquisition by the Moriah School students in Guntur, India. By December it was determined that hiring an English teacher was crucial to teaching classes on campus. Interviews were conducted via Zoom and a new teacher, Ravi, was hired. He began work at Moriah School in late February.
Late in March, the Covid-19 pandemic forced closure of all schools in India and no online courses were allowed because so many students did not have access to the necessary technology. Citizens were in lockdown and were not allowed to leave their homes.
Early in June, teachers returned to Moriah for summer school and teacher Ravi resumed English lessons with them. The Moriah English tutors from the US have shared many online curriculum resources and suggested instructional practices. School is expected to resume in September.
Teaching via Zoom
Moriah teachers have been demonstrating their ability to teach English to children in their homes using Zoom. Observations of the Zoom lessons have enabled a live connection between a US mentor and Moriah teachers. Immediate feedback and interactions with each Moriah teacher have been very positive.
A “WhatsApp” group for the Moriah educators and English mentors has opened up direct communication with the teachers and enabled an easy method of sharing videos. The “WhatsApp” group is being used by the US mentors to post videos specifically designed to help children learn phonics. Some of the teachers are using the videos to sharpen their own language skills during summer school. This will assist them with teaching English to their students upon their return. The videos will also be shown to children in some of the early learning classrooms to ensure the important basics are taught correctly.
Some of the current challenges facing Moriah School center include:
- the school WiFi is sometimes weak or inadequate for multiple users and is not always available in all classrooms
- most of Moriah students’ homes do not have internet or technology available, so online learning is not an option
- more devices (like iPads, Kindles, laptop computers, monitors) will be needed when students return to school so online resources can be accessed to enrich learning
- meetings are difficult to arrange due to time zones with an 11 1⁄2 hour difference during Daylight Saving Time (10 1⁄2 hours with standard time)
- the language barrier is very significant because there are only a few individuals connected with the school who are proficient in English
- only 2 or 3 communicators are available for sharing information between Moriah staff and US team
- coordination of curriculum is difficult with current school communicators
- assessment of gaps is an ongoing endeavor
- finding the most helpful resources to assist teachers is an ongoing search
- Resources will continue to be shared online with the Moriah School staff
- Plans will be finalized for volunteers to have opportunities to:
- become involved in direct communication with teachers connect US students and teachers to Moriah students
- host chat rooms to enhance conversational skills
- Donations to be Shipped to Moriah School:
- In a few weeks, donated classroom supplies and equipment will be gathered and shipped to Moriah School and the Children’s Home. A needs list will be posted on the https://moriahchildren.com website soon. Donations will be accepted at designated locations.