My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Long Vowels and Dipthongs

This "summer" has been an incredibly busy one and looking back over the month of August, I see this haze of back to school prep, frustration, and burn out.  It just hasn't been an easy season. 

That's not to say that there hasn't been significant good things that have come out of this time though.  I think of the volunteers that have kept our door revolving and out kids entertained and well loved.  I think of the changes that have come about in our new kids--the transformation in their eyes, the language development, the hugs--it's been powerful!

Needless to say, I wasn't too excited that I'd committed myself to training new teachers in a week long phonics training.  But, this past week crept up on me and my teachers arrived for training.

Last year, I taught a week long training for all of our teachers.  It was an incredibly frustrating experience.  They were overwhelmed by expectations and I was overwhelmed with the lack of interaction.  I was worried that this time, it was going to be exactly the same.

But, I came in to a room full of new teachers, a few teachers from last year, and teachers from other ministries that we work with--open and ready to hear about phonics.

And it went so well!

I felt confident in what I was teaching and teacher participation was awesome.  We had lots of different interactive activities that taught the lessons and I feel like, for the most part, my "class of students" left with a greater understanding of these concepts.

They now know their digraphs and r-controlled vowels.  They learned how to blend words and the importance of explicit sound instruction. 

And this week, though it left me incredibly exhausted, it also left me encouraged.

It was a completely different experience from what I saw last year.  The teachers were....well...teachable.  They were interested in learning and they desired the training.  And I think they were really receptive as to how to put it to use in the classroom.

There is still so far to go with teachers at our school and I know that there will probably be lessons where phonics content will have to be corrected, but we are one step closer to having our teachers approach learning in a different way.

It's got me excited!

Thank you long vowels and dipthongs for bringing together our teachers for the purpose of stronger instruction!

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