Study Abroad

Leaving the Island

January 12, 2019

With our trip coming to an end, sustainability has been a huge theme this week in Antigua. Throughout all our placements in T.N. Kirnon, the Adele School, the Unit for the Deaf, and in early intervention, we strove to include sustainable practices in our work. Julia and I were working with Amber Webson, the early interventionist on the island all week and we had an amazing time seeing a range of preschool-age students with a range of abilities. 

Before we arrived we made it a goal to promote literacy among the students we saw and encourage parents to read with their children and engage with them to promote speech, foundational skills, and cognition. We accomplished this by personally picking a book for each child to take home and including a sheet of prompts and questions for the parents to use before, during and after reading with their child. 

This is a practice we feel very passionate about because it not only promotes family involvement, which was a common factor in the students we assessed, but it extended the literacy initiative led by Professor Maynard and is something that Amber loved and already said she would be continuing in the future. In this way, we are extending our work beyond the week we spent in Antigua and are putting routines and practices into place that will hopefully lead to further progress in early intervention and literacy on the island. 

In other placements, students at various parts of T.N. Kirnon and the Adele school put similar sustainable routines and practices into place. Students in various classrooms modeled and implemented the tool of voice levels in classes, to be used during different stages of collaborative learning. Other students donated reusable materials to their classroom teachers after incorporating them into their lessons for the week and training the teachers in how to use them; writing white boards, laminated story maps, and classroom posters were among these.

Sustainability is rightfully a main focus in our work and in the preparation for the trip as the leaders understand that it is not enough to simply dump materials into a school or only use the materials themselves, rather than show the teachers and students how to implement them. This is a cornerstone to service learning as the impact made is invalidated if the goods are not paired with a service to ensure the further use of the materials to work towards progress. While there is always room for improvement in creating sustainable and ethical service projects, we feel the people on our trip made a concerted effort that was well received and effective. 

Lasell students with school children