Languages Connect

Myriam Rhode Jean Baptiste ('10) serves as a member of the teaching staff in Louverture Cleary's Koukouy Sen Kler early childhood development program for children from the zone while completing her degree in education thanks to a scholarship from THP.

After a sound work ethic and a willingness to serve others, one of the more remarkable qualities of a Louverturian is their fluency in four different languages: French, Kreyòl, English and Spanish. These language skills help graduates of LCS find work at a rate far beyond the national average and earn an average of ten times the per capita income.

In addition to Haiti's official languages of French and Kreyòl, Haitian employers consistently look for applicants to have a third language of English or Spanish on their resume. While English and Spanish are both taught in Haiti's secondary schools, most students, even in their final year, have difficulty getting past a simple greeting. To really become fluent, young people enroll in expensive language institutes for one or two years to supplement their language education.

Myriam Rhode Jean-Baptiste ('10) would like to see all of Haiti's secondary schools fully prepare their students for the job market. This semester, she is finishing her degree in education at Haiti's Université Quisqueya. The THP community provided her scholarship for university, and Louverture Cleary is now the subject of her thesis, which addresses the challenges of language education in Haiti: 

My thesis is called “Teaching and Learning English and Spanish in Haiti: Importance, Challenges, Stakes, and Propositions.” 

I am using Louverture Cleary as an example of a new and effective approach to teaching language. At LCS, students can practice the language and not just memorize. They read books and develop the ability to think in English. That is because they learn in an immersion setting.
We are fortunate to have Volunteer teachers who are native English, and sometimes Spanish, -speakers who teach in their language, but Haitian teachers can teach like this too. I have visited schools in Haiti where English was being taught in French. Schools need a program like LCS where they can practice using their languages. 

My proposition is that every school in Haiti use a model like LCS, so that in seven years, or less, students will have learned English and Spanish so that they do not have to pay for more classes, but have the language skills they need to be successful in the global community. 

THP does look forward to building a second school in Haiti to equip students with the skills they need to help their country move forward. Before we can expand the mission, we must expand our community of supporters.
Please consider how you can help spread the good word. Contact the Office of Community Development for ideas on how you can get started. We're here to help!