Monday, July 18, 2011

Beaver Island Lighthouse School: Teaching speaking to young men

We wait at the ferry Dock with Steve and part of his family who are returning to the mainland. The schlumpy students disembark and gather around their luggage. One grabs a smoke and a kiss from his girl who was waiting for him. They jostle for seats in one of the two vans. We guests get to ride with Steve alone in a third van.

Steve is very quiet on the road to the school at the south end of the island. Both Beth and I attempt to engage him in topics. Nothing clicks. We don't know where we stand. Finally Beth discusses her workshop and Steve comes to life. Together we decide to read "Wolf" (Great Books Foundation) and do stories about "bad weather" and "first times".

 These nine men are assigned to prepare the school for the Fall term and I did't know if they are used to being read to. One is a graduate of the school, but most are new to it. Wolf is a captivating story about wilderness, snow, a man, and his dog--it captures their imagination. I don't  know how to close the reading so I stumble through. My introduction of Beth is even worse. Now She is on her own.

Beth gets some weak starter video segments from the men but pulls positives from each of them. The men seem interested in each other but fear the task.

A hard patch as Beth lectures. These men have made ignoring school tasks an art. If a question is asked, they ignore it. Take a posture that hides and protects. Pick a scab or put boots on the desk and back slouched in a chair. A cap is a useful prop to wave and rock back and forth on your head.

Steve suggests a new tactic--Interview skills.  We divide into pairs to roll play and get these on video. Again Beth pulls positives from each performance. She's good. 

We end with a stride and glide to the front with a few words regarding an interesting bit of knowledge learned today.
Post a Comment