Arrow Foundation completed yet another successful project in February when 20 students from Woodbrook Presbyterian Primary School graduated from its literacy intervention programme.
Arrow’s impact was clearly evident from the exuberant smiles on the faces of the students, as several were able to improve their virtual reading and spelling ages by 12 months or more, after only eight hours of Arrow training.
As student Amber Francis explained, “Using the computer to learn was a lot of fun, especially hearing my own voice and I can read and write much better now. I am very proud that I am doing better in class and I wish that every child could get this chance to improve.”
Developed over 40 years ago in the United Kingdom by Dr Colin Lane, Arrow stands for Aural-Read-Respond-Oral -Write, a release said. The technique is focused on reading, spelling, dictation, speech and listening skills which produce significant results in persons with learning difficulties. The computer-based learning also applies use of the self-voice—a recording of the learner’s own voice—which forms the basis of the multi-sensory learning approach.
The local Arrow Foundation is a non-profit organisation operating for the past decade and has established an enviable record of accomplishment, having transformed the lives of thousands of children in schools across T&T. The benefits derived include significantly increasing literacy levels, speech improvement, building self-esteem and improving behaviour.
The Foundation has become a key partner for various private and public sector corporations that invest in educational development, including BP T&T, Methanex Trinidad Limited, Citizen’s Security Programme and Atlantic, which sponsored the training at Woodbrook Presbyterian.
Managing director of the Arrow Foundation, Christopher Bonterre, praised the efforts of the sponsors in facilitating the delivery of the programme to the students. “Having that level of support provides us with the impetus to continue to meet the educational needs of the nation’s children. These sponsors share our vision for transforming the nation one child at a time, and they dramatically expand our ability to help students across Trinidad and the sister isle of Tobago,” Bonterre pointed out.
One of Arrow’s main areas of focus is raising self-esteem through literacy improvement which has proved to be a vital benchmark in addressing behavioural problems in students. Bonterre noted that international research has shown that much of the aggressive behaviour found in schools is rooted in students’ academic failure and the frustration this manifests. “When students are able to read and write properly, they feel better about themselves, enabling them to engage in more purposeful and fulfilling activities,” he explained.
This trend was confirmed by Woodbrook Presbyterian’s acting principal, Terrence Choutie, who indicated that from his experience in education, many students who need to be corrected or disciplined for inappropriate behaviour at school often have literacy problems. Choutie noted that raising literacy levels was a positive way of curbing unwanted behaviour in students.