Natalee shares some of her stories of teaching in Honduras, with special emphasis on language. Decisions about the use of language affect the well being of a nation - causing some languages to become extinct, alienating and isolating some communities. I am reproducing Natalee's words here from a recent interview as part of the UNESCO #TeacherTuesday series, and blending in some facts about Honduras in an effort to raise awareness across the world.
Honduras has a Primary school net enrollment of 97%, however it is the completion rate that needs to be considered. In Honduras in 2011, only 75% of children were surviving to the last grade of primary education, with 25% dropping out. Also in 2011 85% of adults were literate. The 2015 target of universal adult literacy by 2015 is unlikely to be met.
The discrimination some indigenous or ethnic groups face is reinforced by the fact that the language used in the classroom may not be one that they speak. In Honduras in 2011, 94% of those who spoke the language of instruction at home learned the basics in reading in primary school compared to only 62% of those who did not.
From the EFA (Education For All) Global Monitoring Report Honduras Fact Sheet:
When curriculum is standardized to state policies and does not consider the native language, traditions and customs of the people, this creates a barrier that most indigenous people are unable to overcome.
A recent interview with Natalee
|Natalee and her students, Honduras|
From the EFA Language Fact Sheet:
Policy-makers need to focus their attention on hiring and training teachers from under-
represented groups, such as ethnic minorities, to serve in their own communities. Such
teachers, familiar with the cultural context and local language, can improve learning
opportunities for disadvantaged children.
Pre-service and ongoing teacher education should train teachers in ethnically diverse societies
to teach in more than one language.
Curricula need to address issues of inclusion to enhance the chances of students from
marginalized backgrounds to learn effectively. Classroom-based assessment tools can help
teachers identify, monitor and support learners at risk of low achievement.
This blog post is a contribution to Week 2 of #TeacherTuesday, a UNESCO and EFA initiative.
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