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.