‘Education on the Wild Side’: Lessons Learned in a Nicaraguan School

February 3, 2010

COOS BAY, Ore., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ — In 1956, a young teacher agreed to participate in a mission trip that would help educate children in poverty-stricken Bluefields, Nicaragua. “Education on the Wild Side” (by Trafford Publishing) by James Cunningham is the story of the lessons learned by both teacher and students during their time together.

As a member of the Catholic Order of Brothers, Cunningham was asked to teach grade school in the order’s Nicaraguan mission when he was only 24. In addition to the practical concerns of traveling so far from home to such a different environment, Cunningham was also faced with an enormous teaching task. His previous teaching experience had been limited to high schools in Chicago and Santa Fe. Here he was given charge of 75 fourth-grade boys, ranging in age from nine to 22. To complicate matters, his Spanish capabilities were still a work in progress.

But Cunningham soon came to realize that these students were eager to learn and willing to overlook his occasional linguistic hiccups. As time went by, Cunningham made every effort to improve other facets of the children’s lives: building a gymnasium for athletics, starting a library, and purchasing harmonicas as a way to help pass the long evening hours without electricity.

Of course, not every aspect of his eight years in Nicaragua was fodder for a success story. In fact, it was largely the haunting images of violence and poverty that so thoroughly permeated people’s lives there that prompted Cunningham to tell this story. In the end, his effort to share these students’ resilience and love is inspirational.

About the Author

Jim Cunningham has been an educator, working as a teacher, counselor, administrator and psychologist, for 50 years in six states and one foreign country. His education includes a B.S. from the University of Illinois, a year at De Paul University Law School, an M.A. in the teaching of English from St. Mary’s University, a Master Counselor license from the state of Illinois, and all but the dissertation in counseling psychology from Ohio University. His dissertation on English as a Second Language (ESL) in 1959 was considered a pioneering piece in that field. For the past five years he has co-facilitated domestic abuse and cancer groups. He currently lives in Coos Bay, Ore.

Trafford is the premier book publisher for emerging, self-published authors. For more information, please visit http://www.trafford.com.

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SOURCE Trafford Publishing

Source: newswire

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