Planning is such a large part of education, and we planned for the 45 students who signed up for the Diplomado. They were actually invited by UNAN-Leon and around 70 individuals expressed interest to our local Nicaraguan coordinator, Indiana. There are also many reality checks in education such as when 22/45 students show up at some point on the first day. Less than 50% attendance isn't usually a goal but some Nicaraguans seem to think 50% isn't bad. I (Julie) must always go back to the Starfish story-- we are making a difference for this one.
Monday was difficult with all the IRB forms, demographic forms, the survey and the pre-test. Yet, when we showed parts of the Rick LaVoie DVD called "F.A.T. City", they really became engaged. We were just thrilled that it had Spanish voiceovers and Spanish subtitles. It's old, but so very effective!! From the NICHY website, we were able to find fact sheets for all of the disabilities-- and they were already in Spanish. This is the bulk of material in the notebooks. We were then able to assign readings for homework and gave them a new shiny yellow highlighter for the task.
Tuesday began with the majority of participants arriving on time. (success!) We also know that many of them are riding crowded busses on scary highways over an hour each way just to get here. A lot of interesting conversation arose around the readings from the homework, especially with the categories of disabilities: 13 for the U.S. law and 4 in Nicaragua. Regardless of the categories, we are focused on strategies to serve these students. They are so eager to know absolutely everything right now-- we kept reassuring them that we have 6 modules to explore these concepts and strategies.
Maritza, Marta, Gladys, and Lidia are teachers at the deaf school project in Leon. It was so gratifying to see Maritza very enthusiastically share ideas for working with students-- and-- they were things I've been trying to implement in the project for 4+ years. (success!) I couldn't help but joke with them that they remembered!! When reviewing the homework assignments, the four of them completed both of the homework sheets (success!)
Apparently a 3-hole punch is quite a rare thing in Nicaragua as most people had only used a 2-hole punch that we were borrowing from UNAN-Leon. Tomorrow will be fun as we use the read deal!
We finished F.A.T. City and there were so many "A-ha" moments from the participants. We also gave some low-tech strategies that we hope to incorporate the rest of the week. While information is important, we also know it is more critical to model organization and strategies.