Second Open Space Meeting
Petyonvil, 20 November 2004
In an effort to serve as catalyst for the improvement of the quality of education in Haiti, the Limyè Lavi Foundation, together with GALO (Action Group for Peace and Autonomy) has created the Schools Alive! Initiative. Its second meeting using the Open Space method was held on Saturday, 20 November 2004 at the Teachers' College on the Methodist Campus in Jacquet Toto. Several schools from the Petyonvil community (a total of 26 participants) were represented at the meeting, including: The New Assembly of God School, Christian Eben-Ezer Institution, Boisrond Tonnerre School, Interdenominational School, etc... Several students from the Methodist Teachers' College were also present.
Ulrick Denis opened the meeting in a large circle at 10:00 a.m. and introduced the theme, “How can we achieve a type of teaching in the classroom which will produce non-violent, self-driven, and eager learners?” The meeting ended in a second large circle at 2:15 p.m. Two break-out sessions were held, one in the morning, and another after lunch. Six subjects were proposed by participants and discussed in break-out sessions:
o A method which can help students learn to better read the Bible. (Lectio Divina)
o How can we achieve a type of teaching without violence?
o What type of teaching will guide students to take responsibility?
o When a teacher doesn't earn a fare wage, how does this handicap the students?
o What moved you to choose teaching as a profession?
o Should we not have an education system that is closely tied to our reality?
At the closing circle, participants were invited to share their ideas about the day, which included comments on the importance of participants keeping contact with one another to continue sharing ideas. One of the common themes for the break-out sessions was the issue of the effects of teaching in a language (French) not mastered by students and teachers alike. This seems to be a frustration for teachers. All participants were promised a copy of the detailed notes from this meeting.
A few translated quotations from participants during break-out sessions:
o “There is a huge language barrier in Haiti's educational system. The Creole language lacks importance in teaching. This causes the students to suffer in their learning process because, despite the fact that they are not fluent in it, the French language is dominant in the curriculum and in the classroom.” -Luders Augustin, Collège Boisrond Tonnerre
o “When a class is taught in Creole, all the students participate with enthusiasm. But when it's taught in French, everyone is afraid to speak because they don't want to make grammatical errors.” -Yanick C. Barrateu, Nouveau Collège Assemblée de Dieu
o “The system of rote learning does not allow students to think about who they are and who they want to become, so that they will not cause problems or hurt their society in the future.” -Alfred Rosé, Methodist Teachers' College student.
o “A school should help a child learn by herself.” Kedy Felix, Centre de Formation Intellectuelle
Note: As outlined in its budget, the Schools Alive! Initiative was able to purchase and use materials for food service for this meeting which allowed us to create a very small amount of biodegradable trash (napkins and chicken bones :-) only). These materials will be stored at Limyè Lavi's office for use at future ILV meetings, and will be made available for other LL and GALO activities as requested.
The meeting to be held on 23 October was cancelled due to insecurity in the capital. Scheduled Schools Alive! Initiative Meetings and their locations:
29 January 2005 High Delmas
19 February 2005 La Plaine
9 April 2005 Carrefour
? May 2005 Low Delmas