Teaching Languages With Music
Bonjou!! As always I wish you the continued experience of the abundant grace and peace of our Reigning King! I hope this message finds you loving life and pursuing grand adventures. Several weeks ago, the National Sign Language Choir was formed in our deaf community and the adults have continued to practice and enjoy singing together on a regular basis. After observing the passion with which so many of the adults are engaging in their project it has been on my heart to start a choir with the children of the community. Most of the children in the deaf community are hearing and love to sing. With this in mind we started a new children’s choir last week with the intentions of using their excitement to begin teaching them two new languages (english and sign language) using song. For this post I want to share with you a recent entry from my personal journal – here it is . . .
“Dako – (ok) onto the endeavor that was pretty much the highlight of my day everyday this week – music and worship with the kids!!! I think one of the best endeavors to be engaging in at this point is anything that gets all of the kids excited about learning new languages and ways of communication, including sign language. Right now that is almost completely taking the form of music and song together. Every afternoon last week I broke out my guitar with the team members and the children all around the community came running, yelling that it was time for “chante”!!! The kids learned the lyrics and the sign language for the lyrics quickly and smiled and laughed everyday. On the second day of our song time together I looked over to a team member from Frazer, smiled and stated in all truthfulness, ‘my life is complete.’ – it was that powerful of a time. Children who can often be unruly and difficult to organize stood quietly and eagerly with both hands in the sign language “R” signifying that they are “ready.” I am encouraged at how quickly they learn and how eager they are to learn. What a great foundation for all of our time together gaining literacy and communication skills!!! While singing and teaching them, a smile always broke out on my face and I often missed lyrics because I was chuckling at the pure joy of it all. Even by the fifth day of practice and repetition the kids come running.”
I have said it often and I will say it again here, education, literacy and communication are vital components of our work towards full sustainability for the community. If song and time telling stories together continues to be the favorite mode of learning, then that is exactly what we will continue engaging in everyday. It is difficult for me to ride my motorcycle over with the guitar but I will work on some regular times to schedule music – everyday this week the kids still come running to hang all over me while they ask if we will sing today. Who could ask for a better greeting when one shows up to “work” everyday? I love that I can put quotations around the word “work” as I think it is indicative of enjoying an entire new lifestyle. While there are many more aspects to my actual job down here, time at the deaf community never feels like work – it is a time of fellowship, learning, and some of the greatest joys I have been privileged to experience in this life.
Look for more updates on music often as this is something that we will be doing together every week!
grace and peace,