Georgia Southern Alumna Tackles Illiteracy
English Language Fellow, Deborah Rodríguez García, facilitates a workshop at the Let Girls Learn ‘Lit Lab’ on the use of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol model for addressing literacy needs and the needs of second language learners
Georgia Southern alumna and English Language Fellow, Deborah Rodriguez Garcia (‘10, ‘12), spent the last three weeks traveling and fighting against illiteracy.
Rodriguez Garcia began in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, at the 2016 Reading Association of South Africa conference. The theme of this international conference was Literacy Connectivity. Researchers, non-governmental organizations and educators from around the globe delivered workshops and presentations on practices to promote literacy in the classroom.
Rodriguez Garcia’s workshop focused on the use of pre-reading, during-reading and post-reading activities to support vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. She commenced the presentation by delivering a 30-minute model lesson demonstrating the use of these activities. One of the participants cheerfully commented on the workshop saying that it was the “most useful and practical presentation she had seen at the conference.”
Rodriguez Garcia, a “Double Eagle,” began her English Language Fellowship in Malawi last January and is returning for a second term in the warm heart of Africa. Upon her return to Malawi, Rodriguez Garcia jumped back into the ring alongside Let Girls Learn and Peace Corps at the Let Girls Learn Literacy and Learning Laboratory in Zomba, Malawi. This “Lit Lab” was created by Peace Corps and Read for Life to train Peace Corps staff members, teacher trainers and secondary teachers on methods to improve student listening, speaking, reading, writing and critical thinking skills.
Individuals from Ghana, Uganda, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Liberia, Guinea, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi traveled to Zomba for the opportunity to gain technical knowledge and practical experience to tackle illiteracy. Rodriguez Garcia served on the coordination team, assisting in the strategic organization of the event.
During the two-week intensive training, Rodriguez Garcia facilitated participants’ knowledge toward integrating literacy into content areas (specifically in math, science and languages), the use of gender equitable classroom and community practices, the creation of student friendly schools and approaches for making content comprehensible for second language learners.
She has a background in the study of languages, which includes a B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) and a M.A. in Modern Languages from Georgia Southern’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and a certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She served as a Peace Corps teacher trainer in Nicaragua and aspires to continue working in the global community, with an interest in education development and women’s education.
The English Language Fellow program is a program of the U.S. State Department and is part of the new English for All initiative. Participants of the English Language Fellow program are highly qualified individuals who hold a master’s or doctorate degree and have relevant field experience. From national curriculum design to localized teacher trainings, these individuals share their expertise to increase education quality and teaching capacity in countries throughout Africa, Asia, Western Europe and Latin America.