Just two more days until the end of semester two at BEA. It's been such an amazing year, and I can't wait for the start of the new semester in September. However, there's still a lot to do before then...
Tuesday's Lesson: Wonders of the World
I was off teaching on Tuesday to catch up on paperwork while Shally taught the kids my “Wonders of the World” lesson. This type of lesson introduces global society to Cambodian students while also giving them the necessary vocabulary to talk about such topic. In this lesson, Shally reviewed the vocabulary from Monday’s lessons and then introduced other famous monuments found throughout the world. The purpose was to have the kids use this vocabulary to talk not just about Angkor Wat, but also other places.
Each student was given two pictures of a famous building with some basic facts. The students had to talk about two of the four following places: Macha Picchu, Neuschwanstenstein Castle, the Great Wall of China or The Golden Pavilion. They then has five minutes to prepare a mini-presentation for their partner. During this time, Shally was kept really busy with pronunciation instruction. One of the challenges of introducing supplementary material in a Cambodian classroom is that students want to know the meaning and pronunciation of every single word. After their preparation, they explained their monument to their partner, and their partner had to ask questions. The students were given only basic facts about each place. However, they wanted to know much more about each of the places, especially the pre-intermediate class.
Here’s one of the dialogues from two pre-intermediate students:
Kimsan: If somebody paid me to visit the Great Wall of China, I would go right away.
Saren: No! You have to keep the money for university and for your family!
Out of the four places, the Great Wall of China and the Golden Pavilion were the most popular places that students wanted to visit.
Sample Lesson Plans:
For those of you interested in our lesson plans and materials, you can view them at the end of this blog. You can see how we've localized vocabulary for a Cambodian classroom. In addition, you can see the process in which I've been training Shally to develop his lesson plans. This is a review vocabulary lesson, so it's a bit different from our typical speaking, listening and reading lessons. However, you'll get a sense of how we approach teacher training at BEA. These lesson plans also play an important role in Shally's online teacher training when I'm back in Japan.
Please forgive any typos - we're just in the first draft stage.
Wednesday's Lesson: Sentence Auction
In Wednesday’s class, it was Shally’s turn to get caught up on paperwork. He’s been spending most of the week calculating second semester grades. He’ll meet with each student on Thursday or Friday to discuss their progress at BEA and to pre-register them for their new course in September.
This was actually the first time I was completely on my own without Shally in the classroom. It was quite pleasant to have the kids all to myself. In today’s lesson, I decided to review some of the writing problems they had in the paragraph writing section of the quiz. Overall, the students have made a lot of progress in writing more clearly and coherently. I now have no trouble understanding their writing. The reason for this is that they are now consistent in their use of English writing structure. I was also surprised to see that the writing workshops in February had a big impact on the structure of their writing. Almost every single paragraph included topic and concluding sentences. When I did the writing workshops in February, these two structures were the most difficult for the students to grasp.
In order to review some of the key grammar and structural difficulties from their paragraphs, we had a sentence auction. The first part of the activity consisted of a worksheet with sentences taken from their paragraphs; some were correct and some were incorrect. Students then had to work in groups to identify the correct sentences. Afterwards, we played a sentence auction game with these sentences. Each group was given $25 BEA dollars (our school’s currency used for games) and had to compete with other groups to buy the correct sentences in an auction. In the Basic B class, students took up a bit of class time arguing about which group had the most powerful team names (before we play a game, groups have to choose a team name). In this class, the groups chose “The Birds”, “The Rabbits”, “The Tigers” and “The Apples”. The Rabbits claimed that the would win because they were the most clever while the Tigers believed they would win because they could eat the Birds, the Apples and the Rabbits. Indeed, the Rabbits did up winning the sentence auction. I always love these types of classroom deviations. As usual, winning teams got three pieces of chocolate while the others got one piece each.
I’ll be spending my morning making up our course evaluations for the students to complete later this afternoon. During the month of August, Shally and I will review these to see how we can revise our program and make BEA an even better experience for the students from September.
Back to work…
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.