1 November 2010 > 7 weeks in Cambodia update

Time flies: in the meantime we have been teaching in Cambodia for seven weeks now. We still love using ‘Cool! English for Kids’ lesson materials. It is good for us to be able to attribute each day a certain theme. The past few weeks we and the children have dealt with animals, the weather, time, music, the months of the year, home and the house, clothes and parts of the body. Each lesson we stick to using a prefixed lesson structure, which appears to be quite effective with these children. E.g. when we play a game at the end of the week to check if the children still remember the words they have learned and still possess the skills they have acquired, we have always found this to be the case. We have also organized a number of extracurricular activities for the pupils, such as tinkering and knocking up things and we have also given them afternoons of playing games. As a result we soon found out they seldom have the necessary locomotive skills, and therefore we have helped them to work on these as well.

After 5 weeks of our teaching the children, our activities were assessed with the principal and the Cambodian teachers of the school. We were told that our teaching was doing the pupils a world of good. The local staff thought that, what we had done sofar, was so effective that they thought they could also learn a lot from us.  That is why they asked us to organize Teacher Training lessons for the local teachers every week. It was their intention to learn how to teach like us, in addition to what they themselves were used to doing, such as having the pupils repeat words and phrases and only using course materials. It was of course very nice for us to hear this, we have taken it as a compliment and we were more than pleased to meet their request to help them to learn from our lesson methods. To illustrate this: we shall certainly explain to them how they can make use of  flashcards.   There is not much time left for us anymore , we regret to say we can only teach here for another  fortnight and then we are already going back to Holland. We can only hope that our way of teaching and the use of ‘Cool! English for Kids’ materials at this school in Cambodia have made a difference. In the future we are going to enterprise more projects like this one in various other parts of the world. Our experiences and our successes here have given us the incentive to carry on the good work!

5 October 2010 > 3 weeks in Cambodia, an update from Anne and Robin

” We have been teaching English in Cambodia, at ‘Chres Village School & Orphanage’ for 3 weeks now. The children’s ages vary tremendously and numbers change from day to day as well. On Monday there may be 40 pupils in our class, whereas on Friday there may suddenly be 70 in attendance. We highly appreciate using the coursebook ‘Cool! English at School, sponsored by the English for Kids Foundation’. From the very start we have noticed there was hardly any structure in the lessons. In the past the children were taught by either a volunteer or a Kmer teacher, and each day the lessons were different from before. By us always using the same coursebook we have been able to make certain fixed themes reappear and stick to a transparent structure in our lessons. Besides we are extraordinarily pleased wit the flash cards, because the pupil can use these cards and then really see the meaning of the word. If you fail to use them the children do repeat what you are saying without them understanding what they say themselves. However, we cannot always make use of everything from the coursebook, since we are teaching orphans from a third world country, so we cannot discuss family life or toys with them, as this is something they do not know from their own experience. Sometimes it is hard for us to explain something to the pupils, since we have no command of their language. There is now definitely more structure in the lessons, because we adhere to a fixed pattern in class. We have noticed the children now know what to expect and they like this very much. That is why we wish to surely thank ‘Cool! and the English for Kids Foundation’, and we shall keep you posted regarding the pupils’ development and their further progress.”

September 2010

Robin and Anne have made a weblog (in Dutch) about their experiences in Cambodia.

Robin and Anne are going to teach English in Cambodia

Let’s introduce ourselves: “We are Robin and Anne, we are in our 4th year of  Pabo (= teacher training college for elementary school teachers) at Leiden in the Netherlands. We have registered as Minor students internationalization, which means we are going to do a traineeship abroad for some months and also do some research there. We have chosen Cambodia since we have always wanted to help children. Through the Activity International foundation we are going to teach English to children in Siem Reap to offer them better job opportunities for their future. We are leaving on September 14 and will return on November 18.

Besides teaching we shall conduct a comparative study into early modern language teaching for under fives. We will compare supply and acquisition of English as a second language to under fives in the Netherlands and Cambodia.

In order to give this project optimal chances of success, we have approached EFKF (= the English for Kids Foundation), because they have developed good teaching materials for young learners.

In this way we can provide the children in Cambodia with a sound basis and make it possible for future volunteers to continue the English lessons using these same teaching materials, after our return to Holland. We are most pleased with the budget EFKF has set aside for us so that we can receive and use their lesson materials in Cambodia.

During our stay in Cambodia we will give an account of our experiences there every now and again, so that you can follow us on our heels, while we are volunteering in Cambodia.”