Tutoring and book typing for visually-impaired students
Project duration: 1 year (Mar 18th, 2013 – Mar 18th, 2014)
Reporting period: Mar 18th – Apr 18th, 2013
Reported by: Pham Lan Huong, project coordinator
Right after the introductory workshop on Mar 17th 2013, the project “Tutoring and Book Typing for the visually-impaired students (VIS)” started running on Mar 18th 2013.
The followings are highlighted project activities in the first month:
- arrange the classes appropriate for the VIS' needs and the tutors' available time registered.
- Collect the VIS' average points of the subjects that they need tutoring.
- The tutors had their students do pretests and sent the results to the coordinators.
- The volunteers took the printed learning materials from the VIS to type.
- The volunteers and VIS gave feedback to the coordinators every week about their classes and book typing process.
- The coordinators paid visits to some classes to do counseling for the tutors on teaching methods suitable for the VIS.
- On the occasion of Vietnam's national day for the disabled Apr 18th, Lift You Up worked with Belief Group to offer 9 scholarships for 9 students participating in the project who are underprivileged and have good learning achievements, each of which was worth 1,000,000VNDs.
- Most VIS registering to use our services are matched with their tutors who teach them at home or on Skype. Only one visually-impaired participant cannot benefit from our service because she is living in a remote area of Dong Anh District, the suburb of Hanoi, and is unable to use the computer.
- All learning materials which need typing are collected by the volunteers and typed according to their priority levels.
- The coordinators have collected all VIS’ study results last term and all pretest scores.
- After the first two weeks, the teaching and learning activities are running smoothly. There were 23 classes in the first week, 27 in the second, 30 in the third, and 32 in the fourth. They strictly followed the schedules which had been registered with the coordinators. Most feedback we received expressed their positive attitudes towards the teaching and learning, which was the coordinators’ greatest expectation.
During the project operation process, we encountered the following difficulties in the past month:
- Difficulties in class arrangement: All volunteers for the project are university students whose timetables vary from semester to semester, from subject to subject. The teaching time they registered with the project was just apposite at that moment, but it changed when the project was actually implemented. Some had their university class schedules changed, some requested the coordinators to rearrange their volunteer teaching time, and some even could no longer participate in the project. The coordinators had to reschedule for both the tutors and their students and recruit more volunteers. Though receiving many reminders from the coordinators via phone calls and e-mails, some participants still made requests for class cancelation and later class compensation because their personal schedule had not been fixed. In the first week, thus, there were only 23/ 35 sessions.
Difficulties in long distances: Since the volunteers' and VIS' accommodations are far from each other, it takes a long time for the tutors to travel. Although we have arranged the distance between the two as short as possible, some still have to go very far. Furthermore, most of the volunteers take the bus, so they sometimes feel frustrated because it is too time-consuming. One volunteer told us that it took her two hours to go by bus to her class and return home, plus two teaching hours, so it took four hours in total each time. When she was caught in the traffic jam, she was late for her university class. Many who registered to teach twice or thrice a week have requested to reduce to once a week since they are afraid that they cannot guarantee their regular participation. We anticipate that it will be getting much warmer in a month, and the volunteers will be taking their end-term exams then, they will require to take a break or unsubscribe from the programme. We will have to cope with diverse difficulties, and the expected results can hardly be accomplished. It is also challenging for us to appeal more volunteers at that time as they will all concentrate on their exam review.
After collecting ideas and recommendations in the introductory workshop, Lift You Up decided to transform the book reading activity to book typing because of the following reasons:
- The VIS will search the section needed in the text more easily than in the audio file.
- This method is more suitable for Lift You Up's conditions at the first stage as we cannot afford good facilities to provide the VIS with audios of satisfactory qualities at the moment.
In addition to maintaining and enhancing the activities in the previous month, our activity plan for the upcoming month is as follows:
- Introduce the project activities to several volunteer groups/ organizations in Hanoi, including Belief, Youthful Volunteers, and Vietnamese Soul to call for more volunteers in case we need.
- The succeeding month is the period when the high school students focus on their second end-term exam and finalize the school year. We will implement some methods to encourage the volunteers to teach regularly and the VIS to make more efforts in their study. If any materials need to be typed for the test review, they will be prioritized and completed as soon as possible.
- The coordinators will supervise more closely the volunteers who did irregular tutorials and the VIS who were not serious in their study. If they violate the rules too many times and have bad influences on the project activities, they will be removed from the participant list to offer the benefits to others.
We received numerous feedbacks during the previous month, most of which were positive and content with classes as follows:
-Email from Ta Hong Lien: email@example.com
I am very happy since Hue teaches me English every week. Her explanations are very clear. We have understood each other more and gradually become good friends. Hue does not only teach me at home but is also willing to help me any time on Skype if I have difficult exercises.
Thanks a lot, Lift You Up!
Wish you great health and happiness!
Ta Hong Lien
Email from Dang Thi Hue: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am Hue. I am very glad to participate in the project activities of “Tutoring and Book Typing for the VIS” of Lift You Up. I am teaching English to Ta Hong Lien. She is very intelligent and hard-working. Though it takes me at least four hours per class, I still feel happy as I can also learn many life lessons from Lien. I can teach her at home every week now, but I will have to concentrate on my exam in a month. So to save time, may I teach her on Skype then?
Thank you so much!
E-mail from Duong Van Son: email@example.com
Huyen taught me for the first time this morning. She was very enthusiastic and gave me understandable explanations. Though I had not prepared well, Huyen gave me a pretest and corrected my answers right after I finished. I would like to say thanks to Huyen and Lift You Up.
E-mail from Huyen, a volunteer: firstname.lastname@example.org
I teach Son this week as usual. Son is a very serious student and always completes all exercises I give.