• 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.
International Mother Language Day
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We all deserve the opportunity to learn to write in our primary language(s). Come at 4:00 pm any February 21st to the Sentinel English Language Institute (SELI)and write with us on International Mother Language Day (IMLD)! The event has been attended by teachers, journalists, students--all who want to expand their writing lives and particularly to support those Sierra Leone languages that are not being taught in schools. Each person takes a chair and a writing board and finds a quiet place in the compound to sit and write a poem, story, essay, or folktale for 45 minutes. Then for the next hour we read our work aloud for helpful feedback. We follow this with light refreshment, and we talk about the value of people writing in their own languages.  Read our article advocating for writing in mother tongues:  http://www.seli.co/seli-forum/seli-editorials

All participants at the 2012 celebration of IMLD were sponsored by over 30 individual sponsors.  Because of this sponsorship, SELI can now offer the Five Writing Lessons program:  five free writing lessons will be offered to up to sixteen mother tongue speakers of as many Sierra Leonean languages as possible, to enable them to author stories, poems, and so on.

We all walk away from International Mother Language Day feeling empowered. We know this is the fountain from which literature springs.  We feel inspired to be carrying out such a diverse activity in such a supportive, collaborative setting.  As the Senior Program Specialist, Basic Education, UNESCO (Paris) wrote to us, "Your writing event is highly significant, not only celebrating the rich diversity of languages, but also promoting their use in written form and thus building a stronger and more dynamic literate environment. There will be no universal literacy without the kind of initiative you are taking."

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 March 2012 11:00
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