This blog was written by Learning Leader Diane Stronks who is working alongside co-leader Alice Vanderkooy with Haitian educators and leaders as part of the Ambassador Training: Collaborative Learning Walking Together project.

In the midst of any training or any learning opportunity, the participants have to decide what they are going to do with their newly acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences.  One of the activities that Alice and I presented to our colleagues and friends of CRECH was the time to plan both a personal and professional ACTION plan for the next year.  We gave them a template that asked:

Where do you want to be in the future?

What will you see if you have achieved your desired outcomes?

How do you get to your desired place?

Who will be with you on your journey to action?

What timeline will you use?

What resources do you need?

Using the topics that were introduced this week -- Collaborative learning; Relational Leadership; Growth Mindset; Restorative Practices; Project-Based Learning; Participatory Pedagogy -- we asked our Haitian colleagues to share one goal of their learning plan in a circle.

Here are a few of their ideas:

1. Reduce our use of lecturing in our schools and plan cooperative, participatory pedagogy that engages and inspires students.

2.  Work with pastors, directors (principals), parents, teachers and students to introduce conflict resolution through restorative practices. 

3.  Create healthier school cultures through intentional care, compassion and encouragement of all students.

4.  To personally grow as a servant-leader in my community.  To move to being a leader rather than just a manager.  To be a better listener and to work "WITH" people in more intentional ways.

5.  To reduce violence by engaging in healthy ways those who use children as domestic servants (slaves).  To work towards justice.

6.  To develop a garden at my school as a metaphor for learning and include students in its building and maintenance!

7.  To continue to work on a growth mindset for myself, the teachers, the parents and the students of my community!  Help our students learn courage, hope, resilence!

I don't know about you, but these concrete goals make my heart joyful!!  Many blessings to the CRECH leaders/teachers for their plans.  We can't wait to see how things develop and grow!! 

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Friday, December 8, 2017

The Classroom is Speaking! 0 comments

 

This blog was written by Learning Leader Alice Vanderkooy who is working alongside co-leader Diane Stronks with Haitian educators and leaders as part of the Ambassador Training: Collaborative Learning Walking Together project.

Thursday already! We began the day by talking about the qualities we want to encourage in our graduates. Dan Berends suggests in his blog that there be an additional set of characteristics that focus around the concept of student flourishing. Beyond evaluating academic achievement, how do we measure whether our students have recognized their ability to transform culture?

The ambassadors gathered in groups of 4 or 5 to come up with suggestions, then posted their work so it could be shared for an “I like, I wonder” activity. One of the pedagogical protocols (Gallery Walk) of Project-Based Learning, this allows everyone a voice. Again it was an example of group work and critique in action. How wonderful to see everyone working together, becoming passionate about their ideas, differing respectfully! When Madame Louisinette Casseus, director of CRECH, came by to look at what we had been doing, she was blown away by how the “classroom was speaking.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Everywhere in the room, you can see what you have been living and learning this week. What a beautiful display of how we want the classrooms in our schools to look!” 

In the afternoon, we asked the participants to apply their learning of the week by creating an action plan for themselves and their communities. “How do you hope to use what we have done together in concrete and practical ways?” They spent the rest of the afternoon working out the details of that action plan. We were blown away by the proposals they presented on Friday. You can read more about this on Diane’s blog.

The rest of Friday was a time of celebration. Several of the participants serenaded us with songs, one of the pastors, Jacques Alexis shared the gratitude of the whole group, certificates were handed out to everyone and then we ate, drank and were merry!

It has been a week of getting to know a group of beautiful people. Their enthusiasm, their desire to serve God and their communities, their passionate discussions and their laughter were contagious. They and we look forward to a continued partnership.

 

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Connecting the Gospel with Growth Mindset 0 comments

This blog was written by Learning Leader Diane Stronks who is working alongside co-leader Alice Vanderkooy with Haitian educators and leaders as part of the Ambassador Training: Collaborative Learning Walking Together project.

During this week, Alice Vanderkooy and I had the privilege to work with the Ambassadors of the CRECH family of schools (approximately 400 schools!!).  This group of 25 leaders/teachers were eager to develop themselves and by extension their colleagues in Christian schools, the churches, the families and the communities that they are connected with.

Our week began with a devotional that looked at blind Bartimaeus and Jesus' question to him: "What do you want me to do for you?"  Jesus always seemed to be asking questions and inviting people into their reality, their growth, their journey.  He is the Saviour who seems to see everything upside down.  He called the "poor in spirit" blessed; he calls the children to him; he asks the Pharisees: "Who is without sin?"  He reframes conflict by expecting his followers to "love their enemies."  

Today, to end our week, Pastor Jean-Jacques read the story of the Canaanite woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter (Matthew 15).  He wondered if we could see ourselves as that woman.  A woman who refused to stop asking Jesus for healing and health.  Perhaps Jesus was testing her... perhaps he wanted to demonstrate that the Gospel would be for more than the Jewish nation. But regardless, she had a plan: she wouldn't take no for an answer. Her courage, her resilience, her belief that determination and perseverance could create a new and different outcome for her daughter and her family was rewarded.

Pastor Jean-Jacques wondered if the determination, the courage, the unrelenting belief that things can change (a growth mindset) wouldn't continue to be very important for the communities that CRECH Haiti serves.  We were so blessed to hear his devotion and doubly blessed to see how the topic of a growth mindset could be so beautifully connected to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

Thanks to all our new friends and colleagues at CRECH Haiti for a wonderful and inspirational week!  

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Transforming Conflict 0 comments

This blog was written by Learning Leader Alice Vanderkooy who is working alongside co-leader Diane Stronks with Haitian educators and leaders as part of the Ambassador Training: Collaborative Learning Walking Together project.

Today Diane led us through theory and activities on transforming conflict. It was obvious that the group was hungry for resources and training on this for their school and church communities. The tools with which they were provided were liberating for them, as they realized that there are positive protocols for resolving and dealing with conflict. I will let the pictures of the day speak!

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