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. 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.
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 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.
Eight Yale University students, having an impressive blend of academic and extracurricular prowess, participated in our fellows program in Mauritius during the summer of 2011. The program allowed students to discover a new and exciting pedagogy which did not restrict itself to the traditional classroom or conventional curriculum. For instance, science was being taught through games on a playground, explaining trigonometry though a basketball game. The activities for year 2011 were carried out at the then newly established center in Mon Gout, Pamplemousses.
The students were coached in creative writing and this helped bring out the unseen creativity in them to every observer’s amazement. During poetry classes, the students learned about Shakespearean sonnets and iambic pentameter and after some time were able to write their own poems. They also wrote personal essays and narratives.
Sports and games
The program also involved sessions on the empowerment of girls but not through formal conferences but sports and games and this proved very popular and great fun. Other fields of study included a vocal music project
Towards the end of the program, a science fair was organized where the students had to prepare science projects and present them to judges. The winners of the competition were determined by their adherence to the scientific method, creativity, display and knowledge. The fair was a real success. Among the students’ incredible work we could find a sun dial, a lemon-powered light circuit, a potato circuit and even the model of a house powered solely on wind and solar energy.
The 2012 ELI Fellows program took place during the months of June and July. Various educational projects, led by five Yale undergraduates, were carried out in different centers in the north of the island.
Lincoln led creative writing classes in Vallee Pitot where he taught the kids the art of storytelling which most of them were eager to learn. The students learned about the different elements of creative writing such as plot, setting, theme, symbols, protagonists, and antagonists and also developed their descriptive writing and ability to convey details in short stories.
Health and nutrition
Lauren led classes about health and nutrition in Calebasses where the students learned about the importance of a balanced diet and also about the different types of physical exercises for the different parts of their body. Most of the classes were run outdoors where she also taught them various sports such as baseball which they were not very familiar with. The girls at first were a bit reluctant to get involved in the different activities but eventually participated actively.
Art classes were run at the Arche de Noe center in Pamplemousses by Brittany four times per week. The students were exposed to various drawing and painting techniques which they were very eager to learn. On the last day, an exposition was organised where people from the local community and parents were invited to see the students’ works.
Lindsay led a journalism class at D’Epinay where she taught the students how to write articles and short essays. During the classes, the students were encouraged to write about different subjects such as poverty and also about some of their personal experiences. The output of the program was a presentation of the students’ work in front of the parents.