Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Author Talks

Yesterday I spoke to primary school students at Westwood International School in Gaborone all about writing. It's my third year in a row. The class I'm speaking to in this picture were the younger of the two I had this year, but they were very enthusiastic asking lots of questions and then afterward asking me to sign little slips of paper for them. It was very sweet.

I always feel a bit sad that this school, primarily filled with children of privilege, have this opportunity while kids in government schools do not. I don't know why I'm not asked to read or speak at government schools. I wish I was. I now have books prescribed in upper primary and in junior secondary schools here in Botswana so I hope I'll get a few invitations. I think meeting writers and seeing that we're just normal people lets children see that even they can be a writer one day if that's their dream. Also getting the opportunity to ask questions about writing and books is a great way for kids to cultivate a love for books and reading, one of the most important parts of education in my opinion.

I thought you'd also like to see a nice photo of an example of Gaborone's varied fauna. This photo was taking in town. I wonder what those World Cup visitors (if any spill over our border) will think of our modern African city.

9 comments:

SueG said...

I love the photo of you and the kids! I've done some of these and I agree, they are incredibly worthwhile - both for the kids and the writer. For some reason, kids often think that writers are "magical beings" that "could never be me." I know I suffered from that syndrome long into my adult years and it really hindered me. I agree. Giving children the dream to be whatever they want to dream to be is one of the most important parts of education.

bonita said...

I did one of these by accident. I needed data for 3rd and 4th graders so I asked a local parochial school if I could have about 1/2 hour of science/math time. After we did the experiment, the teacher opened a question and answer session. I was astounded at the questions the kids asked about writing, about working, and about how my parents viewed what I did for a living.

groovyoldlady said...

What a neat opportunity to share with the kids!

Lauri said...

Sue- I really want to do more of this. I'm going to write about it in my column hoping more schools will invite me. I think it's important.

Bonita- It's amazing what questions they ask- as thoughtful and insightful as adults who have interviewed me.

Groovy- It really is a lot of fun. I think it's important for them to see that writers are just like them. Two boys gave me stories they wrote. I've read them and sent some comments. I sent them some markets that take kids' writing too.

Selma said...

How inspirational. I bet the children got a lot out of meeting you.

What are the animals in the photo? Do they just wander about freely?

Lauri said...

They're cows. How is it having cows walking arund the capital city? They are not supposed to be there. We have free range cattle OUTSIDE of Gaborone but apparently these ones don't know the city borders.

bonita said...

cows in the city sound fine. we've had a coyote in a downtown sandwich shop and a cougar (!) on the North side.

nudohn said...

You mentioned something very important about the opportunities missed by govt schooled pupils. I fully concur, opening them to such opportunities like a talk on writing, helps open these kids to the world some never knew existed. I believe its also about the window of related industries or spin-off or feeder industries presented by an exposure to writing. Industries like acting, singing, communications, strategists, etc. . Im 100% for raising the aspirations of our young folk. We are battling with this in my blog too. take a moment to pass by.

Lauri said...

Nudohn- Thanks for stopping by. I spoke about this same issue in my column this week in The Voice. I hope it leads to government schools seeing the opportunities they could make for their students. I've stopped by your blog, very excited to see people talking about education on our country. Thanks!