About Project Teach

Program Information
Project Teach/Konbit Pwof aims to improve the quality of education in Haiti, in particular the quality of interaction between teachers and students primarily through professional development seminars designed for Haitian teachers and administrators. The seminars, led by volunteer teachers (and interpreters where necessary), help participants become more effective in their teaching, classroom management and school administration, by means of concrete strategies, with a strong focus on positive and humane ways of interacting with the children and much discussion about alternatives to corporal punishment.

Professional development seminars focus on:
  • grades K-12
  • teaching methodology for specific subject areas (ESL, French language and literature, mathematics, science, and social studies)
  • lesson planning and delivery
  • strategies for working with children of various ages and groups with mixed ages and academic levels
  • assessment/evaluation
  • brain research and brain based learning
  • community building
The program emphasizes respect for democratic principles and human dignity, in particular children's dignity, and encourages teachers to consider the role they can play in promoting these and therefore influencing the society at large. Project Teach/Konbit Pwof volunteers remind participants what important role models they are for young children, how they help shape their students' thinking about the world around them, and the importance of making the children feel valued and safe -- free to explore, question, and learn.

Volunteer teachers model the style of teaching and student interaction they wish to convey in the way they conduct their classes with the participants. This way an approach to teaching that is wholly new to the participants infuses all aspects of the program and is constantly reinforced throughout the day.

A team of 2-4 teachers (and interpreters if necessary) is assigned to each group and covers the four core subjects listed above with their group. Two other teachers rotate among the four groups to deliver special sessions on methodology and children’s rights. Participants also attend a special evening forum on children’s rights, where the topic of corporal punishment is thoroughly explored and debated. The courses on civic responsibility and conflict resolution will take place in the afternoons by specialized instructors.

The seminar schedule is subject to change based on the specific seminar location and logistics. An example of a typical seminar schedule is:
  • 8am-12pm Monday-Friday: seminar sessions
  • 12pm-1pm Monday-Friday: lunch
  • 1pm-3pm Monday-Thursday: lesson planning sessions
  • 1-3pm Friday: graduation ceremony

The Rights of the Child

While the teachers cover core subjects (math, science, social studies, and French), teaching the subject content is not their primary aim. Certainly the hope is that participants will benefit from some instruction, whether it involves a first-time exposure or a review. The teachers’ main purpose, however, is to use these as a medium for demonstrating methodology, lesson planning, classroom management, and above all, children’s rights to dignity and respectful interactions.

Project Teach/Konbit Pwof raises the issue of respecting children's human rights and dignity as an independent topic early in the seminar and then integrates it into the curriculum throughout the two-week program. An evening forum with guest speakers during the second week allows for a fuller discussion of children's human rights and related issues.

Corporal punishment is common in schools in many developing countries. Project Teach/Konbit Pwof believes in challenging its seminar participants to think about the effects of this practice and to suggest alternative methods for maintaining order in the classroom and gaining the students’ respect.

Project Teach/Konbit Pwof wishes to emphasize that a society hoping to make fundamental changes must consider the way that it treats its children and how they will be influenced to behave once they become adults and leaders in the society. By modeling respectful interactions, the teachers will instill in the children the building blocks necessary for working towards a peaceful and productive society.

Project Teach Board Members

Director: Bobbi Hoffner

Associate Director: Bernadette Marchand

Chair of the Board: Megan Struckel

Vice Chair of the Board: Chris Hoffner

Secretary: Jessica Felton

Treasurer: Kim West

Communications Director: Ingrid Roche

Curriculum Coordinator: Carol Barton

Local Organizer: Gilbert Buteau

Local Organizer: Nathie Mathurin