For a teacher who has been struggling for some time to teach children how to read and write, the Unlock Literacy model is the best thing that has ever happened to her.
Itumeleng Molefi (34), a Grade 4 teacher at a primary school within World Vision's Mpharane Area Programme in the South of Lesotho, stops at nothing to attest to how easy it has now become to play with children –and all while they are learning.
Watching, two boys play football as they enter the classroom could easily be seen as lack of discipline because the ball is supposed to be played outside, but for Teacher Molefi, the ball has everything to do with learning to sound out the letter "b" for the word "ball". As Teacher Molefi picks up the ball to put it on the table, the two boys and their classmates can easily relate what a ball looks like and what it is used for.
The children go on to learn other words like 'boys', 'bottom', 'bell', pointing at the objects their teacher has neatly placed on the table. For Teacher Molefi, "consonants are brothers and vowels are sisters, and the two together build words".
In the past, I used to struggle to find where to even begin, and with smaller grades, it is crucial that one becomes patient with them. But still, if as a teacher, you do not have the right resources and the skills, the patience does not necessarily pay off, but rather becomes a waste of precious learning time.
- Teacher Molefi
She further adds that, as younger children prefer learning as they play, she has has learned to develop all kinds of games to help them enjoy learning. Teacher Molefi goes on to mention that the model has also helped her reach out to learners with mental disability. “Unlock Literacy has given us all the techniques and teaching and learning can only be fun”, she says.
One of the learners is also grateful that her teacher was able to get through to her. “I used to struggle to form words, and teacher [Molefi] has taught me to look at an object and the sounds that go with it. That has made it easier than ever to construct as many words as possible", she revealed.
“The model was implemented in 23 primary schools within World Vision's Mpharane Area Programme and in all of them, the results speak for themselves," reveals World Vision Area Programme Coordinator, Hopolang Lents'a.
Launched in 2012, the Unlock Literacy model was piloted in 16 countries. It is now being implemented in 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Globally, 250 million children cannot read, write or do basic math even though half have attended school for four years. It is through models like this that the problem can be remedied.