My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for ConnecTeach, Irving, TX, USA
As founder of the Gendercide Awareness Project, a nonprofit with concerns related to those of ConnecTeach, I have known ConnecTeach for almost ten years. I heartily endorse its mission and respect its results. The mission is clear:
• to improve pedagogy by training teachers in developing countries
• to train these teachers to identify and remove barriers to education for students who are poor, female, or otherwise at a disadvantage
Teaching in developing countries too often amounts to rote memorization. Because schools cannot afford to provide textbooks for each student, teachers often read the text out loud and test students by quizzing them on trivia points. As students advance, critical thinking, questioning of assumptions, and problem solving are largely missing.
At the same time, many students, particularly girls, cannot even access education.
ConnecTeach addresses these problems at once. Bhavani Parpia leads teachers in exercises where they themselves think critically about practical and social problems in their communities. Frequently, a recent local news story serves as the opening into such discussion. Teachers are led to identify and scrutinize their own received notions about gender, violence, and the environment, for example. They then develop plans to address practical problems or prejudices. Having experienced this process themselves, they now can now repeat it in the classroom.
ConnecTeach works in both urban slums and impoverished rural areas. It intervenes at all grade levels and has data demonstrating its effectiveness. In India, for example, test scores improved dramatically for students of teachers trained by ConnecTeach, when compared to test scores for students of teachers not trained by ConnecTeach.
In the minds of many, education means mastery of the three “R’s” and subsequent mastery of a discipline, such as computer science, engineering, business, law, or medicine. This will produce a professional wage-earner, but not an engaged citizen. ConnecTeach enables students not just to memorize, but to use education to improve life in their communities.
President, Gendercide Awareness Project