Service Learning in the Dominican Republic
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Fifteen Taft students traveled to the Dominican Republic this month to teach English in a Monte Cristi elementary school.
Led by Taft Science Teacher Laura Monti, Director of Multicultural Recruitment Tamara Sinclair ’05, and Academic Dean Jeremy Clifford, Taft students designed English language lesson plans to meet the educational objectives prescribed in a curriculum built by their host organization, Outreach 360. Originally incorporated in 1995 as Orphanage Outreach, the organization focuses on education efforts throughout the community—English, literacy, and community health. Since their founding, more than 17,000 volunteers have dedicated their time to Outreach 360 initiatives.
“We taught English to grade school students from kindergarten through sixth grade,” explained Monti. “We all developed quick friendships with the students we worked with. When many of the students approached us during recess and asked us our names and ages in English, which was something we had been working on with them, we all felt like we had accomplished something in our four days of tutoring.”
Outside of the classroom, the group got a taste of local culture, and its challenges.
“We had merengue and bachata dance lessons, learned how to use a ceremonial whip, played word games, and reflected on our experiences in the evenings,” Monti said. “On Friday, we went to Dajabón, a market town on the border with Haiti and one of three places where Haitians can come into the Dominican a couple of times a week to buy and sell goods. We observed the unbelievable chaos and desperation of the marketplace, which affected many of us deeply.”
View a gallery of photos from Taft’s service learning trip to the Dominican Republic.
Learn more about Outreach360.