With the support of grants, the Sentinel English Language Institute (SELI) conducts staff development for teachers and school administrators in schools in Sierra Leone in the following areas. In each case, the professional development consists of both workshops and follow-up mentoring. Workshops are highly participatory.
Second Language Teaching Strategies For junior secondary English language arts and literature teachers, as well as teachers of Sierra Leone languages. The SELI director is a qualified ESL specialist with experience teaching in five schools in Sierra Leone. Her book, Skills for Literature, was on secondary school booklists for a number of years. During 1997-1999, she taught three 60-hour courses in second language methodology to teachers of Sierra Leone languages in fifteen schools in the Freetown area.
Leading Young Writers An aspect of the Seli River Writing Project, for junior secondary schools in that area willing to sustain Young Writers clubs. This program has so far trained teachers in nine schools to operate writing clubs. SELI held a refresher workshop ("What Works!") with some of these teachers in August, 2011 and in November all the schools took part in a creative writing workshop offered by the Iowa Writing Project ( http://iwp.grad.uiowa.edu/shse/2011-11-18/the-iwp-in-sierra-leone ).
Process Writing SELI encourages writing club facilitators to write, themselves, and has conducted process writing workshops in the workplace to enhance across-the-board collaboration. School principals who would like to improve the way writing is taught in their schools in all subjects may make arrangements for SELI to conduct professional development in process writing.
Teaching Expository Writing We look at sample student essays, and measure them against our rubric. Teaching strategies are presented. Special attention is given to the argument essay.
Multicultural Education (In preparation). This program will include recognizing the diversity in Sierra Leone schools and the rationale for addressing it by
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- We all have the right to write. Anything we can say, we can write.
- We all can write well if we are emotionally involved in our topic and our purpose. We find our voices there. Writing is learning and discovering. It develops best in real-life situations, with the instructor intervening in the writing process.
- We learn to read by having written. We learn from our experiences, including experiences with oral and written texts. We should expose ourselves to many texts, and often do free-choice reading.
- We learn best in collaborative, diverse, and supportive communities. We all learn in our own ways, and our home cultures affect how we interpret our experiences.
- Moving through the writing process can produce powerful writing. We gain more ownership over our writing if we master the writing process.
- Writing is a strong tool for developing critical thinking. Challenging our thinking as we write in collaborative settings, develops academic language proficiency.
- We teach equitably: not less, but more to the poor. We recognize our children's home communities and ancestral cultures as our educational partners.