During the ELI Fellows Summer Program, a team of two fellows leads each project and is advised by registered teachers or experts in the field. The fellows run their projects for 8-weeks with approximately 30 children. Projects generally proceed in three phases: acquisition of the material, reflection, and application. All projects culminate with the presentation of a final product.
ELI Africa is very concerned with responding to local needs and promoting awareness about environmental sustainability. Fellows lead environmental education programs, such as teaching children how to construct and care for a garden while teaching them about biology.
Health and Fitness Education
Through health and fitness education, ELI Africa and its Fellows seek to teach children about healthy lifestyle choices and to instill in them high self-esteem and appreciation for teamwork. Fellows lead physical education classes and classroom health classes as well as coach sports teams.
ELI Africa’s IT Education projects are concerned with teaching fundamental computing skills while at the same time supplementing existing English language education. Fellows teach students how to create blogs and utilize presentation applications. The students are encouraged to post about their experiences and what they have learned.
Creative Arts Education
ELI Africa understands the importance of the arts in order to encourage creativity, self-confidence, and healthy self-expression. ELI Africa fellows lead arts projects that are eventually presented to the local community. Students might perform plays or exhibit art.
2010 Pilot Program – Mauritius
The ELI Fellows Program, June-August of 2010, led an 8-week pilot program on the island nation of Mauritius. Six Yale University students and three project administrators taught in four distinct education areas, environment, health and fitness, information technology, and arts, using experiential learning projects. Our Fellows were able to lead four projects that included over 300 children from two local schools, for children who have been forced out of the traditional public school system.
ELI Africa Fellows Jordan and Caroline led children from Etoile de Mer and Fatima in a broad range of physical education classes, designed to promote kinetic learning. Highlights included a soccer tournament and basketball games. The soccer tournament, which hosted ten different teams, proved to be immensely popular and will be expanded in future programs. In addition, basketball drills saw astounding participation from female students, who shed hesitation and began to compete with boys for the first time on the court.
- Teamwork – definition, why it is important, when you use it
- Cooperation – definition, benefits, difficulties
- Leadership – qualities that make a good leader, lessons learned from constructive leaders
- Sportsmanship – Dealing with victory/defeat
The health project, led by Sarah and Vicky, implanted a health curriculum largely based on the Community Health Educator workshops used in New Haven, CT schools. The fellows taught techniques related to goal-setting, healthy communication, and healthy relationships. Lessons were largely geared towards improving social/emotional health among students, who had been let down and dropped by traditional public education institutions.
Led by Michael, the theater project produced two shows. The students from Etoile de Mer performed at the Riviere du Rempart Youth Center for an audience of around 300 people invited by the Village Council of Riviere du Rempart. Several local politicians gave speeches. Storybooks were distributed to the children in the audience after the show, and two of the Fellows read a story out loud. The students from Fatima performed at Fatima before the school’s other students. Sets and costumes were simple, all either picked up around the school or created by the students from their own possessions.
Students were led to consider human tendencies and emotion and to understand the importance of narrative. They were introduced to an art form of which they knew little. Also, the students were visibly proud to come on stage and bow after their performance. The project inspired and impressed people in the audience. An event like this show can help persuade a community of the value and satisfaction in education.
At Fatima, the students garnered all these same benefits, along with some more sophisticated ones, owing to their older age. One result of the theater project that was clear to anyone who watched its progress was a change in the social environment of the classroom. Certain very shy students “came out of their shells” over the course of the theater project, and one student even told Michael that “theater changed her life.” Communicating one’s emotions into an artistic product is a method of self-actualization.
Led by ELI Fellows Emily and Sarah, the Book Project encouraged students to take ownership of their stories by writing them down in a directed way. The Book Project gave students the opportunity to create something they could be proud of creating. Lessons included extensive computer and English education, personal prompts, writing blog entries, and creating PowerPoint presentations.