CONGRATULATIONS to all the Challengers on our first six Charity Challenges of 2011, biking from Guatemala to Honduras, the inaugural Nicaragua Volcano Challenge, Brazil's Chapada Diamantina Challenge , Guatemala's first Caribbean Kayak Challenge, Perú´s Cerani Pass and Ecuador's Volcano Challenge. Nicaragua's second volcano Challenge is set for 3rd-6th November and the third Guatemala Volcano Challenge dates are set for 27th November -2nd December.

Click on the following for our most recent official project reports for Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Perú and Brazil.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Evidence of Success – English Program in Guatemala

When the English Teaching Project started off back in July 2008, one its most important objectives was very simple – to get the kids attending secondary state school in Itzapa and Santa María through their national English exams.

As the Guatemalan government had decided to incorporate English into its national curriculum – without, however, providing material support in terms of textbooks or teacher-training – a pass in English was crucial to a pass overall for the year’s work.

The English classes provided by GVI, therefore, were aimed precisely at filling in the many gaps left behind by this approach, giving our kids the kind of grounding in the language which would allow them, hopefully, to shine in their national exams.

Come the end of 2008 and we finally have the evidence that our approach is working! For all the students in Itzapa for whom we have results, all but one passed at the national level – with all showing a significant improvement from their results back in June, before our programme started.

Take Mirna Roxanna, for example – a marginal in June, on 60%, but up to 77% in December! An even better performance from José Israel, up to 78% from 60%. And then, of course, there is the linguistic genius Wilmer Fernando, with an incredible 91% in his recent national exam. This is just to name but three, but all improved on their June scores by at least 4%.

Not content with this, of course, we also subjected the kids to our own testing system. Not that we don’t trust the national results, of course! – Only that we wanted to assess our own course, how well the kids had learned, and in particular to evaluate that part of language use the national exams never seem to test – speaking.

We would then use the results, coupled with each individual’s performance and effort throughout the past 6 months, to award a certificate grading them at ‘satisfactorio’, ‘bueno’ or ‘excelente’.

All did well, but of particular note were the ‘Mayan rocker’, Lester, who scored an incredible 95.5%, topping the charts for Tajumulco in Itzapa. There was also a great performance from Yennifer Fabiola, one of the youngest students in the group but probably the hardest-working, who scored 81.5% overall.

In the PM class, inevitably Wilmer triumphed again, but there were also fantastic results from the sister of Yennifer Fabiola, Sulmi Asucena (79%) and Dania Isabel (76.5%). In the PM ‘B’ class, a level below, Mirna Roxana again came out tops with 86%, and a thoroughly deserved grade of ‘excelente’ for all the hard work she’d put in.

But also particularly pleasing were the results of Yohana and Ana Isabel – 67% and 64% respectively – a great improvement from them and a slap in the face for the boys who had been putting them down but scored a lot worse!

In Itzapa, the testing was done in a bit of a rush at the end of the year, due to having to fit around various parties and celebrations. In Santa María, however, we had time to organize a formal diploma-giving ceremony, complete with an ‘acto’ from the younger kids who sang songs and did the famous ‘pulpito’ dance, much to everyone’s delight!

The results of ‘excelente’ in Santa María went, in the AM group, to the crack team of Mayra, Sandra, Blanca and Miriam, while in the PM group, those with sufficient concentration to achieve something special in the madness that often prevails on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons were Orlando and Marlon.

Well done to them, but special mention must go to the grade of ‘bueno’ achieved by José, the sole boy in the AM class. José has never been to state school, learning all he knows from GVI, so he has not had the reinforcement in Spanish grammar and literacy that some of the other students have enjoyed.

So all this evaluating and quantifying has another more human purpose- to acknowledge the hard work the students have put in and to give them the confidence and impetus to progress to the next level.

It has allowed us to open new classes, promoting and shuffling students around in order to best suit their needs, and adapt our teaching approach accordingly. All the volunteers involved in the programme in the past six months have made a crucial contribution to that success

So hats off to Liz, Lisa, Caity, Amanda, Kavin, Olivia, Leslie (who has now become an intern), Moira, Bronwyn, Lucinda, Kamal, Juan and Michelle – and welcome to Robert and Carol, who will carry on the good work in 2009. Happy New Year!


Lisa Fuller said...

Wow, this is really great to hear! Amazing. I'm really ecstatic to read that all is going fantastically. It's exciting that the program is working so well. Congrats to all, here's to a great year.

Liz Davis said...

What absolutely fantastic news! : ) I'm so pleased to hear how well all the students are doing and feel extremely proud of all of them! Keep up the good work guys and a well done Neil! x

How does GVI Phoenix make a difference?

The following film was made in Guatemala, though the message is the same across all GVI Phoenix projects