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Ashli Edwards
Worked at University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Attended University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Lives in North Carolina
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Ashli Edwards

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11/19/12 Today the principal of Emfundweni, Mr. Andala, asked a colleague and I to speak to a group of young women about the HIV/Aids epidemic that is devastating the community of Zwidie, South Africa among so many. My partner and I did research on the statistics in the area in order to provide factual information to the young ladies, but also so that may be able to relate it to something that affects them personally--their community. I started the conversation with an icebreaker, having each student introduce themselves by name and age. My colleague and I also introduced ourselves a little more in detail. From there, I shared anecdotal stories about my childhood and how I began to have natural feelings for the opposite sex.The discussion ran its course naturally and we provided the girls with a lot of important information. What was most shocking was that I asked several questions following the discussion to analyze how helpful the session had been. One of the questions posed was as follows:  "By a show of hands, how many of you have had a talk about HIV/aids and other STD's prior to today?" One student raised her hand. Another question asked was, "How many of you were aware of how serious the HIV disease was and how it can affect your life?" No hands were raised. Being that this is such a serious health concern in the country of South Africa, I strongly urged the principal to implement workshops biannually to educate the youth about the risk factors, how to protect themselves, and to encourage abstinence. Overall, the experience was positive one. Even though I was teaching sex education, which I am honestly not qualified for, I know I reached these students today and the feeling was absolutely gratifying. 
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Ashli Edwards

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11/14/12 Today I taught a follow-up lesson on graphing with my Grade 5 class, using M&M candy pieces as a manipulative for which to graph. Through this activity, it provided the students with the opportunity to have additional practices with various aspects of graphing such as collecting data,   using tally marks, finding the frequency, and inputting that data into a bar graph. The lesson went very well with the exception of having to cut it slightly short so that the learners could take their Technology exams. The students remained engaged the entire time and were eager to participate. They expressed to me that they do not have very many opportunities throughout the course of the school year to participate in any sort of group work or hands-on activities and I was glad to be able to do this activity with them. From an educational perspective, I was able to gain necessary experience with classroom management today. Overall, these learners are very well-behaved. With that being said, however, there were several instances in which noise became an issue but it only took a verbal warning in order for them to restore the noise level to an appropriate volume. I set an expectation for them to respect one another when they were sharing and they met that expectation. I collected the learners' individual graph papers to file in a portfolio and I left behind the graph that we created in whole group for the learners to keep and for them to admire their hard work. Today was a great day at Emfundweni.
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Ashli Edwards

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Today is also a very important day--ELECTION DAY!! Exercise your right to vote!!
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I taught my first lesson today at school. It was everything I anticipated it being. I will admit, I was nervous to start when I arrived to the classroom to find that my partnership teacher was not there. I asked one of the students what time class started (in which her response was 8:00am) so I decided it was time to begin the day. I decided to alleviate some of the nerves on both parties' behalf and ask how everyone's weekend was. That made the students more comfortable and so I began my lesson on graphs and frequency. I started off with an example by separating the boys from the girls and making a graph of the total number in each group. I feel as though the students could easily relate to this example and the movement and personal connection got them all engaged. After my lesson, I assigned the students two pages out of their math books to complete. There was differentiation in the types of graph. The task was to keep a tally, record the frequency, make a pictograph, and finally a bar graph. After that, they had to answer some comprehensive questions demonstrating their ability to read a graph with accuracy. With this being the first experience with graphing, I was very pleased with how receptive the majority of my students were. 
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I have already seen Hotel Rwanda, however it was during its release in 2004. I watched it again recently, but this time more analytically so that I could really absorb all that was going on in Rwanda with the Hutu and the Tutsi tribe during this very violent political war. Don Cheadle did a phenomenal job of portraying the Hotel Manager and the tremendous weight that was place upon his shoulders as he so selflessly turned his business into a refugee camp in hopes to save the lives of so many. I did some research after watching this movie and Rwanda is near Uganda (East Africa) in relation to location on the map. I find it vey intriguing that these are two groups of people, who share the same color of skin, but have so much hatred and animosity towards one another. I have seen this hate in my country in regards to skin color and this just made me think more deeply about how this hatred can come to be. I also researched the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 which was the premise behind this film. Over 800,000 people were affected by this wave of murders. What I gathered from the movie is the Tutsi people were the ones so enraged and doing the majority of the killing. The entire movie left me in a quite somber mood because there was little to celebrate at its conclusion. Eventually, Rwanda received some help, but at such a great cost. What I am learning from watching these movies and reading literature about Africa, South Africa specifically, is that there is so much history there, a lot of which is violent. I will not pretend to know everything there is to know about this culture but I am making a conscious effort to have some understanding of the lifestyle of the natives prior to me visiting next month.
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I was assigned by my EDN455 professor, Dr. Huber, to watch to films and blog about it. This is a very new experience for me so bear with me as I learn how to navigate through my newly created blog site. I wathced a documentary last night entitled "Angels from the Dust." The location of this documentary was in Johannesburg, South Africa and the premise of the film was to follow the lives of several women (ranging in age from about 10 years old to adult) who have fallen victim to the horrible disease, HIV. An activist by the name of Marion Cloete uprooted her husband and two daughters and opened up an orphanage that houses over 500 children whose parents have either already died or are dying from the disease. She provides medication, a safe place to live, counseling through therapy, and most importantly, a free education to every soul that enters this place. I was in tears for most of this 90minute story as the trauma that these children are exposed to at such an early age is truly remarkable. This documentary was filmed in 2007, post Apartheid and the living situation for most of the families prior to seeking refuge in the orphanage is inhumane. I have yet to set foot on African soil and already I feel the overwhelming sense of appreciation for even having the opportunity to be an institution for higher learning when so many of these children's parents refuse to even let them attend school. Marion Cleote was in constant battle with the parents in this film to allow their children the opportunity at a better life. There was a lot of tragedy and despair in this Johannesburg community, and at the same time everyone there managed to find some hope and keep relatively positive attitudes and outlooks on life. It truly touched my heart and reaffirmed my decision to go into education. I am now more anxious than ever to board that plan on October 30th and have my life changed forever.
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Ashli Edwards

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I have done some reflecting on the teaching practices here at Emfundweni Primary School in comparison to the schools in New Hanover County back at home in Wilmington, NC. I have found that the major differences are cultural and structural within the various school systems. At Emfundweni, there is a strong behaviorist approach. The teachers have a very structured way of managing their students have a good re pore with their students in the sense that they have their respect. I'd like to think this is the case in most classrooms in America, however, approaches very from teacher to teacher whereas, at Emfundweni, the approach is uniform throughout the school. I also find it very interesting how much work the students complete independently or in collaboration with a peer or two. In the short time that I have been able to observe, I have noticed that the teachers take a more constructivist approach when it comes to teaching the curriculum. They do provide whole group instruction, however, after that, the students are instructed to do a heavy amount of work out of their workbooks. On the contrary, in America, differentiated instruction has become an expectation. After talking to my partnership teacher here, Mrs. Lulu Pasiya, I realized that there are some major factors that may be contributing to the way curriculum is being taught at Emfundweni. There is a huge language barrier there being that English is the second language for both the students and the teachers. To add  insult to injury, the textbooks for which the teachers are required to teach from are all written in English as well so it presents a huge challenge. I can say that these teachers want the best for their students and that is a global sentiment.
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On Friday, November 9, 2012, our group went on a tour of the international education initiative, Ubuntu. This is an NGO whose primary objective is to provide services to both children and parents that are underprivileged and live in the township villages here in Port Elizabeth as well as abroad throughout the world. The center we visited on Friday is just three years old, however the success rate is remarkable. There are Early Childhood classes offered, a fully functioning Pediatric clinic that also caters to the needs of adults and prides itself on having one of the only queuing systems around, and life skills services to assist parent in finding employment.A 19 year old American student (Jacob Lief)  as well as a native of Port Elizabeth (affectionately referred to as Banks) gave birth to this concept in a local tavern in 1998 and brought it to fruition in 1999 and now the organization is truly flourishing. Ubuntu is a Xhosa philosophy that promotes human interconnectedness. I think that every human being should live to by this mantra. As a citizen first and a teacher second, I feel as though we have a moral responsibility to uplift those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We should provide a hand up rather than a hand out and give others the opportunity at success.
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Today my class went on an "outing" or field trip to a zoo and a swimming pool in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth along with the rest of the Grade 5 classes. this is their last hurrah before they begin their end of term testing. They are being tested in the subject areas of Mathematics, Social Science, English, Xhosa, Science, and Life Orientation. Testing begins on November 7, 2012 and continues on through November 16, 2012. The students (affectionately called learners in P.E.) will take a test on alternating days for the remainder of this week and will test everyday next week, including two exams on Wednesday. I found it interesting that the tests were created internally here at Emfundweni as compared to the standardized End of Year (EOG) tests back in the United States. At any rate, I wish the students all the best and I look forward to the Grade R, or Kindergarten, graduation.
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Wishing the Kiddies good luck from the otherside:)
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Ashli Edwards

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I visted Emfundweni Primary School on Friday, November 2, 2012 to tour the school, meet my partnership teacher, and become acclimated to the 46 precious boys and girls that I will call my students for the next five weeks. I am quite sure I cannot articulate how truly breathtaking this experience was for me in regards to learning about a world of education altogether different than what I am used to and what I have been taught about teaching back in the United States. We were greeted initially by the principal of the school and shortly after by much of the faculty and staff. We were given a tour of the school. I anticipated poor conditions,but nothing near as devastating as what I witnessed. There were broken glass windows, doors and no lighting among other things. There was no playground facility for the children to play with. Resources were outdated and at a minimum. There have been no renovations to the school since its foundation in 1980. On a positive note, however, the school has been supported by the Ubuntu organization and has been recognized for several awards throughout its history. I hope to effect change in my short time here. My plan for doing that seems pretty simple. I want to provide the teachers with various resources that they can use in the classroom to teach modern, relevant material to their students, thus preparing them for a successful future.I got the impression that these teachers are invested in the well-being of their students but that they simply lack some of the means to provide them with all of the necessities. I hope to assist with that in some way.
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Awwww they are precious!!!
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Have her in circles
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  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington
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Hi guys! I'm Ashli. Follow me as I take my first international journey to Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This should be very interesting =)
Education
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington
    2012
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