As a part of our annual certificate ceremony, BEA's executive director, Nicole Takeda, awards prizes for the school's best and brightest. Students who earn an overall average of 80 percent and above receive the distinction of "honors" while those with 90 percent and above are distinguished with "first class honors." In addition, students who rank in the top three of their course and those with perfect attendance get special prizes. This year, the BEA kids got notebooks, pens and a Canadian-themed keychain (since Canada is Nicole's birthplace). We also introduced a new award for the "most improved" students. These awards were for those who struggled their first semester at BEA, but then finished the year with passing grades. One student even improved her grade by 34 percent during the second term!!!
The Bayon English Academy (BEA) is an accredited NGO school that provides English language education, leadership, and job skills programs to underprivileged youth from well-trained teachers in a safe, clean and professional environment in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
We're all set for the big day! Shally picked up our certificates signed and stamped from the Ministry of Education while Nicole wrapped up all the gifts for the top students. The BEA kids will be thrilled to get their certificates at our graduation ceremony this afternoon for the 2012-13 school year!!!
The Bayon English Academy (BEA) is an accredited NGO school that provides underprivileged youth with quality English language education with professional teachers in a safe, clean environment in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
We finished up our last teaching day for the first semester of the 2011-12 school year, and we all made it through the 104 teaching days! The BEA kids will be on their "spring" vacation for the next three weeks while Shally and I head to Phnom Penh for the CamTESOL conference, and then start revising the curriculum for the second semester and taking care of building repairs. The break will still keep both of us quite busy.
One of the traditions we've started at BEA is to hold a small awards ceremony on the last day of the first semester. Student who received top marks in their courses, as well as those with perfect attendance, are presented with prizes for their outstanding effort during the semester, such as dictionaries and notebooks. However, we had to expand our prize pool to include grammar textbooks and graded readers The reason is that some students in their courses last year placed in the top three, and had already had dictionaries. In total, we gave out 20 prizes this semester. I'm still amazed that six of the BEA kids got perfect attendance prizes, especially since they go to public school, work part-time and have household responsibilities. Such dedication and determination for such young adults. I've never been prouder of them, and especially proud of Shally. Despite the endless challenges he has to go through each and every day, he's been an incredible inspiration for the BEA kids, and to me as well. At times, there is just so much despair in this job, but days like today really make up for all those tears.
At the end of our awards ceremony, we also had our certificate ceremony for those students who passed their courses for the 2010-11 school year. BEA received accreditation as an educational institutions from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) and the Ministry of Interior last year in August, which means we can issue our own certificates for our English language and teacher training programs. There's always a waiting period for government-approved certificates, but we finally got them! The BEA kids were just beaming when they got their certificates. They put in an incredible amount of work to pass their course, so their certificate really means something to them. I had no trouble at all getting them to smile for their photos with Shally.
Now that we're on a break, I have time to starting preparing our presentation for the CamTESOL conference next week. The CamTESOL conference series started in 2005, and is an international conference to foster the professional development of English language teachers in Cambodia. The theme of this year's conference is Language and Development, and will be held on February 25-26 with over 350 invited speakers.
Rather than doing individual workshops as we did last year, Shally and I will be presenting a paper together on BEA's curriculum. In our presentation, we will explain how to adapt the Communicative Approach (CA) and Task-Based Learning (TBL) in the Cambodian classroom. Both of these are different types of teaching methodologies used in teaching English as a foreign language (EFL). Before we head to Phnom Penh, I'll upload our presentation to the website. I'm also hoping to get this paper published in one of the bigger journals on teaching EFL in Asia.
Onwards to CamTESOL...
The Bayon English Academy (BEA) is an accredited NGO school that provides underprivileged youth with quality English language education in a safe, clean environment in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Well, we did it! It was an exciting first year with lots of ups and downs, but we're more than ready to take on our second year once we start up again in September after the summer break.
Shally finished up student conferences and pre-registered most of the students for the 2011-12 school year on the last day of class. We had only two days for conferences, but we'll probably expand them to over a week next year so that students have more time to ask questions. On average, students met with Shally for about 8-10 minutes. However, some students need as much as 15 minutes because they wanted to discuss personal problems with him. Often, a few of these meetings end in tears because students are overwhelmed with difficulties at home or at public school. Yet, most of the meetings have students smiling because they are given encouragement and constructive feedback.
While Shally was in meetings, I had a mixed tense writing and speaking activity for the students called "Secret Sentence". Students were given three strips of paper and had to write a "secret" on each strip of paper. The students then folded up their strips of paper and had the students put them into a basket. I then gave each student three of these "secrets" from the basket. Students then had to read these secrets and then mingle with their classmates and ask questions to find the writer of the secret.
After each lesson, I collected these secrets and categorized them into groups. You can read some of these "secrets" in a short slide presentation in the "BEA Voices" section of the blog. You'll be surprised at some of these "secrets"! There's one "secret" that made me burst out laughing because I have no idea where the student learnt that expression, but Shally may have had something to do with that. Can you guess which "secret" made me laugh?
Before we dismissed each class for the summer break, we had a short awards ceremony. The top three students in each course received a "Grammar in Use" activity book and a notebook for prizes. It was quite difficult at times to get a group photo because I couldn't get the kids to sit still for a minute! However, I did manage to get some great photos for the website. You can view them on the home page under a new section called "The BEA Bulletin Board".
BEA will be closed until August 28, but the staff will be back on August 29 to get the school ready for registration on September 1. All students will be to class on September 5.
Until then, Shally will be revising the Basic and Pre-Intermediate programs while I'll be designing BEA's new Intermediate curriculum and setting up our library program. It'll be a busy "break" for both of us.
During the break, we'll keep you updated on our progress with our new projects and accreditation from the Ministry of Education.
Back to the books....
The Bayon English Academy (BEA) is an NGO school that provides underprivileged youth with quality English language education in a safe, clean environment in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Nicole is BEA's director.