Methma is a Volunteer Representative for Swearer Tutoring and Enrichment in Math and Sciences (STEMS). As a VR, Methma helps plan weekly meetings for the tutors, which are intended to provide Brown tutors with tools to work more effectively, through tutoring skills, knowledge of current education policy, discussions on the role of a tutor in a classroom, or information about the Providence Public School system. She is currently tutoring in a physics class.
Communication Based on Community
Adam and Becca are co-community fellows for Olneyville ESOL, an English-language program at William D’Abate Elementary School in Olneyville. The program offers English language and literacy classes to (mostly Latino) immigrant adults living in the school’s surrounding neighborhoods. Both of us have worked in ESOL for multiple years, as teaching assistants, lead teachers, and now in multiple roles in support of the program’s volunteers and learners. We teach with flexible syllabi in order to tailor the classes to our learner’s specific needs and strengths.
“Thank you for being kind, thank you for teaching… thank you so much.” --Rosario, Level 3 learner.
The room is quiet, learners and teachers alike clump around Rosario in a rugged semi-circle. The latin dance music is paused, forkfuls of tamales, rice and beans, and tres leche cake momentarily ignored. The end-of-semester feedback survey could wait. The howling December wind outside the thin windows of the school’s library hushed momentarily to catch the last of Rosario’s moving words.
At the end of each semester of English classes, all volunteer teachers (Brown students) and learners (adults from the community) join together for a potluck dinner, awarding of certificates, and one last joyous opportunity to celebrate and reflect on one another’s hard work.
In this casual collective gathering, we witness the essence of learner progress as evidenced through happy conversation and celebration. Months prior, we were rushing to register our influx of new adults; now we are breaking bread and being welcomed into a loving family. The adults ranged from having little experience in the program to having spent as many semesters as we have within the ESOL program; together we have established a community. Our mission to help our learners feel confident in their English language abilities is evident during this particular moment in the camaraderie that fills the room, demonstrated by all participants enjoying the party while using their growing English skills. Building relationships as part of our ongoing attentive teaching efforts is all part of the work that helps us accomplish the program’s goals.
People involved in education always say that teachers learn more from their students than students learn from them. Of course, we hope that volunteers are making a difference for learners in gaining confidence about their English skills, but our biggest hope for the program is that we can remain grounded and grateful enough to realize how much this small Olneyville ESOL community teaches us about the lives and motivations of our fellow Providence residents.
June 20, 2016
June 13, 2016"I think about opening my mouth to call out goodbye, or to salute her in a traditional sign language farewell. Instead, I stand silently and smile."
Sally Hosokawa is a Community Fellow for Writers’ Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that facilitates creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities. She studies literary translation in the Comparative Literature Department.
May 14, 2016“Club teachers understand us,” she says. “Even though they’re older, they’re not that much older, and so they’re like us and we can identify with them and talk to them about our problems.”
Addy is a volunteer with the Brown Elementary Afterschool Mentoring Program (BEAM), a Swearer Center community partnership that facilitates after-school programing activities and mentorship between Brown volunteers and students at William D’Abate Elementary School in the Olneyville neighborhood.
February 22, 2016
Pia is a junior double-concentrating in Education Studies and Comparative Literature. This is her third year with Writers' Group, a Swearer Center Community Program that offers creative writing workshops for adults with developmental disabilities, and her first year as a Swearer Center Community Fellow.
February 19, 2016I was intrigued by the program, but very intimidated by some of the topics. I’ve never been in the position to talk about gender or sexuality or rape culture.
Tiara came into Brown dead set on studying Neuroscience. After a summer or working with the local Planned Parenthood branch and taking health based classes she realized public health was her real calling. She has been volunteering for the SHAPE (Sexual Health Advocacy through Peer Education) program since sophomore year.
February 16, 2016