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Yesterday, I started a journaling project with my grade 8s. A little background: after grade 3, the language of instruction in South Africa is English. Books, tests, all in English. The problem is that the students don't have enough English before grade 4 for this to work. Many teachers simply continue to teach in home language (here: siSwati). You can guess what happens as a result.
So, as a side project, I made journals for my grade 8s. I gave each of them an English prompt based on interests (which they described for me in another assignment). They'll answer, and then I'll write back. The journals will become a written English conversation -- good practice for them.
So, I already got 3 journals back this morning, and they made my day. Some excerpts: "Please Ms Nomsa (my siSwati name) can you be my friend? I love you." And "I respect you teacher because you are my teacher and I love you." *heart melting*
Some days here are so indescribably hard...small things like this are just enough to keep me going!
I don't post a lot in this forum, so I thank you for listening.
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Well, I'm glad I got started with the journals I quoted. Today the rest of them were turned in and they are eye opening, to put it mildly. Some are inquisitive (asking about slavery in America and other stuff), and others are downright confessional (and very, very sad). Few learners can fully articulate their thoughts in English.
So, this project is going to be both rewarding and very challenging, I think!