Yesterday was a super busy day for everyone at BEA with student evaluations and conferences.
My morning started out making the student evaluation. I had wanted more time to prepare it, but of course, there is never any extra time because preparing lessons takes up most of our mornings, so administrative work has to be during the few free moments of the day.
Anyways, this was my very first time to make a formal research evaluation. This one is a trial run before I do a more formal evaluation of the school next year. It was indeed a challenge because there were so many areas to cover. I included facilities, materials, curriculum, teaching, improvement and general headings on the survey with five subheadings for the curriculum section: speaking and listening, writing workshop, journal writing, task-based project and tests. There were 100 questions in total! Student had to read each question and then rank it on a four-point scale: disagree (1), somewhat disagree (2), somewhat agree (3) and agree (4). In addition, there were comments boxes where students could make suggestions and give their own comments.
During the evaluations, I was available for the students to ask any questions. Most of the students needed a few vocabulary terms explained to them. Ideally, we'll have more time next year to translate the survey into Khmer so that we can avoid any misunderstandings.
I'll be on a working holiday from next week, so one of my jobs is to go through the surveys and calculate the results. However, I had a quick glimpse of the surveys last night, and almost all of the comments were very positive, especially towards Shally and his teaching style. Many students also commented that BEA's teaching methods, the communicative approach (CA) and task-based learning (TBL), were new to them, but a good way to learn English. Once I get through these surveys, I'll make the results available on the website.
For those of you who are interested in how we evaluated our program, you can see pages 4-5 of BEA's annual evaluation at the end of today's blog posting.
Shally had an incredibly busy day yesterday with student conferences. We have these student-teacher meetings at the end of each semester. The students get some one-on-one time with Shally to discuss any concerns about their learning at BEA. In addition, Shally explains the student's progress and final grades. Each student is given about 10 minutes, but often they want to talk much longer with Shally about other personal concerns.
During the student conferences, Shally also informed the students about the new teaching schedule from September. We'll be adding another class, so BEA will be starting from 3:00pm and finishing at 6:50pm. We will be having 50 minutes lessons instead of hour lessons. The reason we had to make this change is that many of the girls who wanted to register for the pre-intermediate course last year were not allowed because 7:30pm was too late for them to be returning home. In general, Cambodian parents are very protective of their girls and they are required to be home before sunset.
In addition, it was brought to our attention during the year that a few students were studying at other English language schools with the help of a sponsor. Shally and I agreed that it's no fair to enroll students who are already studying under sponsorship at another language schools because there are so many youth who have no chance at all to study anywhere. Those students were a bit upset because they do not want to give up their studies at BEA. Regardless, we need to give an equal chance to those who have no chance at all in the village.
Shally will be kept very busy today with the second part of student conferences and pre-registration.
I still can't believe we made it through the year...well, almost, just one more day...
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.