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.
Remembering How to Read
Elizabeth Stanfield '16 is a Community Fellow with the Swearer Classroom Program, which provides struggling D'Abate students in grades K-5 with individualized attention and in-depth focus on reading and writing.
The Swearer Classroom Program marks my initiation into the real world of elementary school education. I came into Brown as a wide-eyed freshman eager to get involved in community service - a desire sparked primarily by my heavy involvement with a church-sponsored summer program that provided meals and activities for neighborhood children.
Room 101, however, taught me that the academic year presents challenges much greater than finishing a house made of toothpicks and marshmallows. I learned very quickly in Mrs. Molho’s classroom that elementary school students are responsible for so much more learning than I ever remembered. Working with a small group of three or four students, I came to realize how impossibly tricky many of their tasks are – reading in particular – through the endless minutes spent reading the same page.
As a Classroom Program volunteer, it was my responsibility to coach the students through reading exercises to improve overall literacy. Yet how could I figure out how to coach reading skills when I had no idea how to articulate the origin of my own literacy? That is to say, I could not conceptualize the challenges sparked by something that was so second nature to me.
I didn’t get my bite of humble pie until this fall, my sophomore year, when I enrolled in CS 015: “Introduction to Object-Oriented Computer Programming”, and found myself staring at jumbles of letters that made no sense. Assignments were initially excruciating not only because the topics where hard, but also because I did not speak the language needed to facilitate them. In a way, however, enrolling in this class allowed me to re-experience extreme problem solving and also re-evaluate the steps that are important in learning something completely foreign: practice, persistence, and help.
Although I ventured to room 205 last spring, I’ve now returned to room 101 this semester with a clear sense that we are not expecting immediate perfection from these students. Instead, the Classroom Program emphasizes the importance of positive reinforcement and taking our time, regardless of literacy levels. I can’t wait for my small group this semester to read like pros, but I honestly think that getting to work alongside them to create a vast collection of reading breakthroughs is even better than reaching the end goal.
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