Volunteer Work at VSD
Trip Start Jun 21, 2012
17Trip End Jul 21, 2012
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In addition, when I observed Lydia's class, I noticed dat they students copied exercises from the chalkboard and wrote 'em in their notebook. Their teacher did teach 'em lessons and the students finished the exercises. They brought their notebook to the teacher's desk and have her checked their work. That's it. Normally teachers at TSD, where I work, present their lessons to class: state the objective or goal for learning, give them instruction, the students are given a chance to practice and apply the skills taught them through direct instruction, they do independent practice, and lastly teacher assesses their comprehension. I didn't see the students have their chance for one-on-one instruction, interaction w/ other students, hand-on activities, cooperative learning stations, interactive assignments from the Internet, and sharin' their work w/ others. I also didn't see the curriculum bein' modified to meet the students' needs. The students were taught in the same way. It made me wonder how much teachers at VSD are trained.
Back to the videotapin' projects, I spent a lot of time decidin' how to make the projects, instructin' my students, showin' 'em how to act, sign, use facial expression, and not to say the least alot of time was spent in editing
The first video was to have all 17 students in Lydia's class stated their name by fingerspellin' and name signin'. It's not easy for me to remember their Ghanaian names such as Tsigbe, Azaglo, and Semakor. So, I asked each of the students to fingerspell their name and sign their name to help me remember individually. After I stopped rollin' my videocamera, they wanted to see how they looked, so I showed 'em. The students huddled around me tryin' to see the videocamera 'cos it wuz small for the 17 students to see it. They laughed excitedly and some of 'em covered their mouth w/ the hand as if it's their first time to see themselves in the video
I later learned dat George has a side job where he sews and makes clothes. He proudly showed me his sewin' machine next to Lydia's classroom. He said he mostly makes uniforms for VSD and other skools as well as any clothes made out of fabric. He works in town after skool. I asked him if he'd fix my sundress by addin' two straps so it won't drag down to my boobs and shorts by narrowin' 'em in my thighs. He said he can, so I brought 'em to skool next day and he finished 'em easily. He did a great job and I paid him in Cedi. If I knew before, I'd have bought more fabric and have him made me out of sumthan' nice.
Sometimes I needed to hide my camera wherever I go at VSD 'cos students wudda come up to me and ask me to take photos of 'em, or have 'em in the video camera. I sometimes told 'em dat they're already in the pictures and I wanted to teach 'em not to have the photos taken so often. Many of junior high skool students (mostly boys) helped me by tellin' primary students to move, go away, or tellin' 'em what to do when I worked on my video camera. They saw me struggle and I wuz grateful to have 'em by my side wherever I went
The students at VSD were VERY polite. They greeted and smiled w/ their white teeth wherever I passed by. They signed, "Hello. Welcome. Good morning. How are ya? I'm fine. Thank ya." If they see me carryin' my backpack or holdin' materials, they offer me for help. I don't know if it's because I'm yevu ( a white person), or the cultural thing. Sometimes they just walked by my side. I need to show examples to my students at TSD. My students normally walk and pass me without greetin' or sayin' anything as if I am invisible.
When new words were introduced, students drew pictures for the words from their workbook in their notebook to help 'em remember. It gave me an idea to videotape the students w/ the vocabulary. I asked 'em to write the word on the index card and draw a picture of it on the back. They took turn signing the word to my video camera. They reviewed all the words more than once 'cos they didn't seem to have a good retention.
Before I forget, last week I asked Mensah Kwabena (or Emmanuel as he calls himself) to help me videotape different buildings at VSD, and to explain what they're. It's difficult for me to narrate in the videotape myself. He wuz more than delighted. The students followed us to everywhere we went but Mensah reminded 'em to stay away and to not interfere us. After I edited the videotape, it ran up to about lil' more than 14 minutes long and when I posted it on Facebook later, many peeps left me positive comments and thanked me for sharin' it w/ 'em. Ya can find it in the title of 'VSD in Ghana, West Africa" in my YouTube under my usernname, bodynsoul2
I shared my American Sign Language w/ Lydia's students, Lydia, and George. In exchange, they showed me their Ghanaian Sign Language. The first week of my volunteer work, I admittedly got lost in understand their language. Sometimes when Mawusi, my interpreter, was present, I asked him to interpret what they were sayin'. After gettin' used to GSL, I started using some of it to communicate w/ the students. When I didn't get what they were sayin', they gladly repeated for me 'cos I think they really wanted me to understand. So, I thought why don't we exchange our language in the videotape to share it to my colleagues, friends, and family. Each of the students had an opportunity to feature in the 'tape of the difference in both languages. They wanted to be in the 'tape more than once and started to argue with each other. I had to rewind my 'tape to check if they had more than twice as I wanted 'em to be fair w/ each other. They signed words in both GSL & ASL such as pineapple, sheep, and soccer. I know dat my students at TSD want to learn GSL, so I'll show the video to 'em.
I decided to find a book of a Ghanaian folktale or story
I had to plan how to adapt the story 'Ananse and the Pot of Wisdom', translate it into ASL, assign students a role, find props and materials, list different scenes & places to be filmed, and teach the students how to act, which wuz pretty difficult. I found the project enjoyable and I think the students really enjoyed entertainin'. I selected a boy, who looked older than others, for the big role as Ananse. The little boy wuz assigned as Ananse's son. Some students were assigned to be monkeys, toucans, and elephants w/ masks on their faces. I taught 'em how to make the masks out of the papers and they colored 'em. Other roles were 2 farmers, 2 weavers, a cook, a seamstress, and 2 carpenters
There was a 27 inch TV in the cafeteria, which wuz not big enough for about 200 students to see the DVD clearly
I felt my volunteer work was accomplished and enjoyable. I planned to add caption in all videos for signing-impaired folks or hearies 'cos I think they're worthy to show 'em. I didn't realize dat I came to Volta Skool f/t Deaf 5 weeks before it closed for the rest of skool year. The last 2 weeks before it closed, all students took final exams, so takin' over Lydia's Primary 1 class wuz pretty easy in transition. Lydia seemed flexible w/ what plans I had for her classes