Well, we made it through orientation week with all our continuing and new students. As of today, we have a total of ninety students studying with us this year. With the addition of another class this year, we have twenty more students than last year.
Writing Exchange Program
As part of orientation classes for Pre-Intermediate B and Intermediate courses, BEA students were introduced to a new program starting this year with my own students at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan. Each BEA student will be paired with one of my students in either my Oral Communication or Integrated English seminar courses. In total, we have 106 students participating in this program; 53 from each school.
Both the BEA program and my university courses have weekly journal writing as one of their homework assignments. They write on a given topic each week and then exchange their journals with their partner the following week in class. Students bring home their partners' journal in which they comment on their writing and write on the week's new topic. This program will be expanded to include a Cambodian-Japanese writing partner. However, students will be writing one journal entry (or letter) per month with their partner. Shally and I have set up a schedule to mail students' letters back-and-forth throughout the semester. The themes of each letter will include (1) a self-introduction, (2) daily lifestyle, (3) a cultural reflection and (4) education experience. After students write about the designated topic, they also have to include a commentary on the previous letter and are allowed to add recent news or pose questions for their partner. If you would like to know more about this program, you can click on the Cambodian-Japanese Writing Exchange Guidelines at the end of today's posting.
In my last day of my Oral Communication and Integrated English seminar classes, I had my students complete a profile including information about their family, interests, part-time jobs, and so on. They also included a photo of themselves. In Friday's lessons, each BEA student received one of these profiles. Students had time to read through their profiles and ask vocabulary questions. There were quite a few questions concerning "cultural" aspects of Japan, such as "cram school", "okonomiyaki", "oxygen bar", as well as questions about pronunciation of Japanese names. For homework, students had to write write Letter #1 using their "letter writing notepads". The BEA students will have all of their writing materials provided for them for this program while my Japanese students will have to purchase their own supplies.
Shally and I will be collecting the letters today, which my Japanese students will receive in class next week once I'm back in Japan. From my impressions in class, I really think the BEA kids are going to love this program. Many of them do not get any chances to practice their English with non-Cambodian speakers, so hopefully this will give them that chance, as well as a chance to make a new friend.
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.