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Temple’s sabbatical focuses on literacy projects

Charles Temple from the HWS Education Department is working on literacy projects for the Roma people of Central Europe while on sabbatical leave this spring.

For the Next Page Foundation, he and Lydia Dachkova conducted a workshop in Zagreb for ethnic Roma writers from Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria. That workshop has resulted in the publication of three books in the Romani language for young people.

The Next Page initiative seeks to educate young Roma children in a standard written version of the Romani language, so they can communicate with other Roma people worldwide; and promotes knowledge of Roma history and culture among Roma young people, especially those from urban areas.

Temple, his wife, Codruta Temple, and Alan Crawford of Cal State-Los Angeles are also leading a project called “Academic Success for Roma Children,” in which educators from Bulgaria, Moldova, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are creating tests to pinpoint at-risk children’s difficulties in learning to read, and also training them in teaching and tutoring methods patterned after HWS’s America Reads program.

This activity is supported by the new Roma Education Fund sponsored by the Open Society Institute and the World Bank, and they hope to have robust programs for young Roma children in place in all six countries by the spring of 2007.

The project has developed some of the most extensive literacy assessment devices available in the five languages in which the project is operating. In connection with this project, Temple is advising a Romanian colleague on her doctoral research, in which she is devising an approach to assessing the readability of Romanian textbooks.

In a project for middle school students, Temple is conducting a series of workshops for Romanian literature teachers who wish to write contemporary fiction for young adults.

In mid-February, Temple and Crawford led a week-long workshop on literacy instruction for the entire staffs of the primary schools of Montecarlo, in the Misiones district of Northern Argentina. The session was hosted by Fundacion Leer of Argentina, sponsored by the Open Society Institute, and conducted in Spanish — with a few Romanian words thrown in, he says.

Temple is teaching at Babes Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania, on a Fulbright fellowship through June, in the Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences and the Faculty of Political Science.