Saturday, August 1, 2015

Teaching Future Teachers...

These last few weeks in PNG have been such a blessing!  I have had the honor and privilege of lecturing at the Melanesia Nazarene Teacher’s College (MNTC), which is located 20 minutes away from Kudjip, towards Mt. Hagen.  Those of you who know me well understand how passionate I am about Special Needs kiddos.  It was a real joy to be able to talk to the future teachers of PNG all about Inclusive Education, more specifically, Learning Disabilities.
On my first visit to MNTC, I met with Miss Alice Yenas, the Inclusive Education Instructor.  We spent some time going over her syllabus and determining which classes I could assist with.  I was able to observe Alice teaching a large class of second-year students and was impressed with her knowledge and similar passion for Inclusive Education. 
Discussing the syllabus with Alice
God works in wonderful ways… His timing was perfectly arranged in my visits to MNTC.  Alice was called away to Port Moresby for a workshop/seminar, but did not have to worry about finding coverage for her classes.  I was able to cover all of her classes during her absence and really enjoyed working with the Second Year Teacher’s College students. 
Selfie with my 2nd Year Teaching College Students - 83 Total!
With Alice & several students after class one day...
All of my lectures were based on the topic of Learning Disabilities.  I spoke with the students about: the major types of learning disabilities, possible causes of learning disabilities, academic behaviors seen in children with learning disabilities, the identification and assessment process for special needs children, and classroom interventions and modifications that can be made to accommodate children with special needs.  I really focused on this last point a lot.  Here in PNG, the school is not required to provide services in the same way that we do in America, so it will be up to the classroom teachers to notice that a student has a learning difficulty and adjust their curriculum to suit the needs of that child. 
During my last day of lecturing, I had the students break up into groups and complete an activity where they had to come up with four different ways to adapt an assignment for a student with a reading and writing learning disability.  It was slow going at first, but once they understood that they were acting as the teacher and not the student, they got it!  : )  Each group then presented their strategies to the class and shared their ideas.  My hope is that in a year from now, when they are teaching in their own classrooms, they will remember the strategies we discussed and implement them at their schools.

Working in their groups to create modifications/accommodations:

I ended each class with a quote about education…here are two of my favorites!

Future teachers of PNG!

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