Final Post from Haiti 8/29 (actually written in the U.S.)

This was a day to wrap up the seminar.  We started with music, which the Haitians love and I believe that it played a significant role in the success of the seminar. It fits into my intention to stimulate the brain in a variety of ways.  I don’t thinking that thinking outside the box can develop with just repetition of a single type of problem-solving exercise.  We must stimulate different parts of the brain because they will work together.  There is some evidence of that in some of the students’ reports of the connections they saw between different types of exercises we used and also relevance to their own lives.

The journals show a remarkable number of associations of the exercises with things that were never specifically taught.  There were no lectures on any subject matter field.  They were simply asked to think about some subjects and they came up with surprising insights.  I will be posting more of the journal materials in the next few days.  They constitute most of the data we have in English.  The rest will have to be translated from Creole.  We have asked two of the attendees, who did some translation of seminar materials, earlier and they have agreed to translate data for us.  This will take some time.

We took the usual photos of the whole group and the individual work groups.  I will be posting some of them.

They were given a final essay involving questions about the most important things they learned in the seminar and how they see that they can use those things in their lives.  I am eager to see what they said and they will be the focus of our first translation efforts.

The last song we used was the Glee version of Lean on Me.  It is a powerful encouragement for the students to continue to work together.

We collected email addresses from the students and gave them ours.  I promised to stay in touch and send them additional Tricky Qs and What happens next? exercises from time to time.

I also encouraged them to continue to get together and think about ways that they can contribute to the improvement of Haiti.

At Rita’s suggestion we put together a short PowerPoint show to reveiw the seminar.  We ended the seminar with it.  I will post that, as well.

People associated with UNOGA are talking about offering the seminar to all students.  That will require more seminars than I (and Rita) can even consider doing.  There is a young man who works and teaches at UNOGA, who attended the seminar.  He is very excited about it and will be incorporating some of the teaching methods into his classes this fall.  We are hoping that we can find a way to give him some training so that he can present future seminars.

The next work for me is to get the data we collected translated into English so that we can analyze it.  My goal for this week and next is to get the data organized so that we can tell exactly what we have.

After that Rita and I are driving west to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and other interesting places.  I need a break.

Before I end, some thank you’s are required.

First, the students, whose eagerness to learn and delight in the insights they gained, made teaching this seminar a delight like I have not experienced before.

My wife Rita who supported and encouraged me, as well as offering great suggestions for some of the materials.  She also went with me and at times became the presenter of some of the exercises she suggested.  She is my favorite traveling companion.

Dr. Mercedes McGowen, who provided materials from her long teaching experience that I could use or adapt for the seminar.  I thank her for her determination to keep me going at times when I was discouraged, for the long discussions that helped me to get the seminar into focus. and for her friendship.

Dr. Henry Markovitz and his group at the U. Of Quebec in Montreal who provided encouragement and some of the exercises used in the seminar.

Renate Schneider, vice directrix at UNOGA, who gave my proposal the go-ahead, translated some materials, and took care of the many arrangements that had to be made in Haiti.  She also put up with my insistence on checking multiple times that things had been done.  I watched her enthusiasm grow as the seminar developed.

Fr. Medard Laz, our long-time friend who always encourages the good things we try to do.  He is responsible for our involment in Haiti and his financial assistance helped make the seminar possible.

Finally, our children and grandchildren who support us in the things we do, in spite of their misgivings at times when we must seem a little crazy to them.  I have a special thank you for my daughter Maria, fellow educator, who has been very supportive and convinced me that I have information that needs to be disseminated further into the education community.

Thank you all!

Now to get ready for the Grand Canyon and points west.

Bob

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