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Practical advice to teachers that deal with Roma children
Practical advice to teachers that deal with Roma childrenPhoto by Denis Varodi/CF "Heart with Love"

A valuable and encouraging initiative: a human rights activist, a teacher, a psychologist from Transcarpathia Denis Varodi shares with colleagues his own experience and gives practical advice on how to approach the Roma students , to achieve success and results in their training and education. The Ruma by nationality, he is constantly working with Roma children, is well versed in the peculiarities of their community and convinced that Roma children want to learn, but it is pretty hard. It is therefore important to help them adapt to school and not to create separate Roma special classes that actually isolates younger Roma.

Denis Varodi is convinced of the inadmissibility of establishing segregated classes for Roma young not without reason: he is an educator, psychologist, head of the charity Fund "Heart with love", a member of the evaluation Committee of educational institutions in the Perechyn district, Transcarpathian region, a member of the Public Council on the issues of the Roma minority in the Transcarpathian regional state administration. Now he heads the NGO on support of Roma Program Initiative of International Renaissance Foundation, embodies the project "Education of Roma is the key to their success in society". In the village of Poroshkovo, Perechyn district, from June 2016 there is an educational consulting office, where the Roma families are applying for legal, psychological and pedagogical aid.

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Denis Varodi with first graders of Poroshkovo school. Photo by CF "Heart with Love".

The teacher's job is not to rush to work in the main program.

In I-III stages the majority of pupils are Roma. Usually they come to school unprepared because their parents pay very little attention to the training and education of their children. This is why the efforts in these directions fall on the shoulders of the teacher.

Roma children are the same as all, but are less prepared. Arriving at school, students often poorly understand Ukrainian, do not know colors, do not know how to communicate, behave in a team, do not possess even the basic student knowledge and skills.

And here an important task of a teacher is not to be in a hurry to work with them to primary school curriculum, and be able to pick up such pedagogical approaches to get at least small results with such children.

Using visual aids is very important

Training of young Roma is not the case when the teacher just says something, and the children remember, understand, can play. No, everything needs to be shown clearly. Even such simple words as "month", "willow", "violin" are incomprehensible, unattainable for them. While children do not perceive with their eyes, they would not remember anything.

For example, in the study of letters I am drawing each letter or display letter associations in the alphabet.

Start working gradually, not with haste

First, children must learn to sit, to do some little duties and the management (not to run in the middle of class, not to scream, raise their hands) and only then move on to learning.

Apparently, before school most of them did not even hold a pen or pencil. So, you need to need a lot to paint, sculpt, cut with young Roma to develop fine motor skills.

To constantly repeat what has been learned

Memory of Roma children are usually not very well developed, short. Therefore, in each lesson, without a repetition of past topics it is not worth starting to explain the new material. Before explanation of a new theme I suggest to hold short warm-up in the form of a game on repeat.

Lessons should be interesting and children should be continuously stimulated and encouraged

Such students are very absent-minded, so other than via the interest and emotion, the students simply will not listen and will not perceive the information. I offer dramatizations of fairy tales at the reading lessons: children can be taught at least to retell stories, to learn poems by diagrams and drawings.

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Photo by Denis Varodi/CF "Heart with Love"

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