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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Monday, December 12, 2016

School leadership in Haiti: Reflections and predictions

What a location for a course!
Last week, I taught a Master of Education course in Fermathe, Haiti in the mountains above Port au Prince. This is the fifth Masters course I have taught in Haiti and I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the 41 students in my course.

One item that struck me was the growth in the number of female participants in the Masters courses I have taught. There were only two females (out of 60) in the first course I taught ten years ago in Haiti. In last week's course, 11 of the participants were female. And they were very strong leaders within the course! This certainly gives me hope that many more women will pursue educational leadership in Haiti.
Marie Paule and Berline - two amazing leaders!
Rodia is dynamic and has a powerful vision!
Another issue that impressed me was the high level of engagement of the students. We covered a wide variety of topics, including transformational and transactional leadership, teacher evaluation, and teacher professional development. We did a lot of active learning in all of these areas and the course participants were always eager for more.

Characteristics of a leader
Inside-Outside activity was a big hit!
Finally, I tried to model effective teaching practices for the participants. We had readings that included chapters from both North American as well as Haitian scholars. Each day, we determined the criteria that would be used to assess their work for the day. We incorporated mini-lectures led by me with small group seminars that participants led. We completed activities that reflected different learning styles. I was really pleased to see that in the learning activities that the students led, they too did not simply rely on traditional teaching methods (i.e., lectures) but tried to utilize different means to communicate the key ideas they were focused on.

Individual vision statements
After teaching this Masters course, I am even more convinced that there is tremendous opportunity for the future of education in Haiti. These are strong and capable leaders whose vision is to lead effective schools and to impact educational outcomes across the country. Last week was only a snapshot into this potential but I am optimistic that over the next 20 years, these leaders will be some of the key change agents in Haiti.

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