By: Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi
In early 2018, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Government of Honduras launched the “readers to leaders” program (De Lectores a Líderes, also known as the USAID Honduras Reading Activity). The project implemented by Education Development Center (EDC) and its partner Florida State University (FSU) targets regions according to two Development Objectives (1) Citizen Security increased in high violence zones; and (2) Extreme poverty sustainably reduced. The five-year project is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Education to implement evidence-based reading approaches to improve the learning rates in reading and writing of at least 700,000 students from first to sixth grade in 2,500 schools across 60 municipalities; train more than 15,000 in-service teachers in evidence-based teaching practices; provide 1,000 existing or new school libraries with a collection of 1,200 books to promote reading opportunities.
The “readers to leaders” project is also aimed at building the capacity of teacher educators at the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán (UPNFM) to address current educational reforms affecting the teacher certification requirements in the country. FSU’s main role in this project is to collaborate with the UPNFM faculty to better integrate educational standards and evidence-based teaching practices applied to both pre and in-service teacher training programs. FSU will support UPNFM faculty teaching in the Basic Education Program and provide professional development focused on early grade reading instruction.
In September 2018, two research faculty members at the Learning Systems Institute at FSU, Dr. Ana Marty and Dr. Flavia Ramos-Mattoussi traveled to Honduras for one month to assess the current situation and readiness of UPNFM faculty, administrators and students to effectively embrace the new curriculum and impart evidence-based teaching practices aligned with current efforts to reform academic standards and formative assessments. The FSU team conducted a mixed-methods baseline assessment of how “lectoescritura” is being taught at the pre-service level, examining administrative structures, teaching methods, and specific strengths and constraints in the context of the UPNFM in Tegucigalpa as well as in its Regional Centers in Gracias, Santa Barbara, La Ceiba, and San Pedro Sula. They observed numerous classes at UPNFM and at primary schools; administered 134 surveys, and conducted interviews and focus groups with faculty, administrators, and students at all sites visited to better understand the context of reading and writing instruction in the Basic Education and Spanish Language Programs in Honduras.
Dr. Ana H. Marty was interviewed by TeleCeibaTV Station in La Ceiba during a site visit to the UPNFM Regional Center. See Link to interview in Spanish: