A source of strength
Established fifteen years ago on the island of La Gonave, off of mainland Haiti, the Matènwa Community Learning Center is increasingly viewed a source of educational innovation that deserves to be replicated throughout Haiti. The emphasis at the school is problem-solving, not rote-learning, nor bullwhip-driven discipline. Education is combined with being in harmony with the environment. Reflections circles give students a real voice, and is a forum where they learn to listen to each other. Education at Matènwa is about growing thinkers who can have an impact on their community and the lives of many others.
Bonjou dear friends of MCLC,
Three teachers, the principal, and 2 bi-racial students who served as translators, visited from Fayerweather Street School. They brought new Mother Tongue Books made by their pre-k through 4th grade students. They brought and taught strategy games for which we had asked. They provided guidance on class management and how to make our lessons more concrete. We worked with microscopes looking at water drops and vegetable tissue.
Local Arts Center
Several adults and students are engaged in weaving trash receptacles and chairs, embroidering bags and clothes. We feel confident this project will eliminate our plastic trash problem by encouraging neighbors to buy local goods.
We had a Saturday meeting with teachers and community members from Gransous, Bwanwa, Masikren, and Matènwa. The theme was: How do we build a democratic community? The discussion topics that emerged were very interesting. “Can a community develop in the midst of conflict? What is democracy? Can a community develop when there discrimination?
Whole School Meeting
Students share their feelings about what went well at school and didn’t go well for them, praising each other for positive behavior. After that several classes share something they have been working on in their classroom.
MCLC Friends, we hope you are pleased to receive this information.
Direction Committee Secretary Millienne Angervil
Translated by Chris Low
Dear MCLC Supporters,
We thank you for our dedication to the vital work happening in the Matènwa Community. Haggerty School (Cambridge, Massachusetts) librarian, Karen Kosko, connected us to FACES children’s magazine. We have been working on two projects: one featuring 10 students between the ages of 9 – 14 and one longer photo interview of a junior high student for FACES’ Fall 2011 publication.
MIT linguist professor, Michel DeGraff, has a grant this year to work on technology-enhanced and Kreyòl-based education. He is currently at the stage of working with an evolving team of educators and programmers to produce a suite of Kreyòl and computer-based games for the teaching of 4th grade math. He has been working with the MCLC teachers this year, having made four visits to the site so far to brainstorm and plan a controlled experiment to evaluate the effects of such games.
You can see an excerpt that’s currently being translated (with voice-over) on plate tectonics, along with another video on photosynthesis at http://haiti.mit.edu/2010/10/22/blossoms-video-with-kreyo/ . The original videos are at http://blossoms.mit.edu/video/adam.html and http://blossoms.mit.edu/video/vandiver.html. Also in the works: subtitles for a calculus video from MIT’s OpenCourseWare: http://haiti.mit.edu/2010/10/13/mit-ocw-videos-with-creole/
Michel is still looking for more programmers with knowledge of Kreyòl and 4th grade math, further down the road we’ll need help from researchers familiar with Haiti, educational technology and experience in assessing educational interventions.
Chris Low, Executive Director
Dear Friends of Matènwa,
During difficult times change and new life emerges. We are beginning our 15th year with new administrative structures and roles. Abner Sauveur and I, co-founders and co-directors for the last 14 years will now be able to do more outreach to other schools in Haiti and the US as our new team of directors, Ezner Angervil Chair, Millienne Angervil-Petion Secretary, and Roseline Obel Resources Manager, take over the daily administration of the school. Abner will promote school gardens and pedagogy in and beyond Matènwa, and I will be executive director of MCLC, as well as focusing on the creation of more Mother Tongue Books and school partners.
Our team spent two and a half weeks in the Boston area observing and in conversation with classroom teachers, students, and administrators at the Fayerweather Street, Atrium, Belmont Day, Rafael Hernandez, and John M. Tobin Schools. This trip was sponsored by the Fayerweather Street School’s Matènwa Teacher Exchange grant. The team met with the newly formed Friends of Matènwa Board. They then returned to do a week of orientation. The trip is already bearing fruit.
Yesterday’s email from Millienne read, “ We had a great opening day of school. After sitting in a big circle to welcome students and their parents, they entered their classrooms. Teachers explained what they planned for the year and discussed expectations for parent participation. We had each parent talk about their child. It was a truly exciting day!”
Executive Director MCLC