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Changing the strategy… March 8, 2010

Filed under: Vietnam — polyachka @ 4:37 am
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There was another encouragement from Nancie:

Hi Polyachka,
I have been away (Jamaica) and really busy. I was excited to see that you got the VN keyboard working. Have you flashed the Activity translations successfully yet? Finding Clytie has been really monumental, don’t you think?

Re “lost in translation; heavy thinking; and cancelled”:  I am glad to see that you are feeling more upbeat. My thoughts are that it is probably not a reflection on your teaching, or on the girls that the XOs went unused for 3 weeks. It is more likely a cultural thing. I observed that in Vietnam, the teachers deliver the information to be taught and the respectfully students learn it. A hands on, collaborative or “constructionist” approach is foreign to the educational culture. Perhaps your students were waiting for their teacher out of respect for you, and also because it is the cultural norm to expect guidance in a hierarchical manner. They probably do not have much experience in taking initiative.

In the VVV,  I suspect that our teachers did not feel comfortable teaching the XO because if they did not know how to do something with the software it would be like losing face in front of the students. We didn’t have an adequate teacher training time or setting. But with the XO in particular, you know that experimentation is a necessity in every Activity, even if you know how to use the laptop. Sugar is designed to require that!

If you are able to get your students to loosen up enough to be less worried about performance and more intrigued to explore learning, then your time there will have been a great success.

We can speak more about this another time. I just wanted to convey my thought on this, and my encouragement to keep at it and figure out a way around the stumbling blocks as you try to plan for how the girls will continue after your time there ends. I have some ideas…for showing them the internet and introducing them to an internet cafe…the XO skills are easily transferable to the cafe PC’s.

Enjoy the warm weather. It’s March in NE and it won’t be spring until May!

So after  I read both Clytie’s and Nancie’s thoughts, I decided to change my strategy: instead of showing all interesting Sugar activities to the girls and hoping that some of the activities spark their interest, I need to focus on girls’ current and upcoming needs. The most important activities should be demonstrated first: the Internet, music, eBooks, editor of pictures, etc.

I need to direct girls’ energy to become good students, citizens, to get good jobs and more importantly to find information, as information nowadays is everything!


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