At the end of January, our Mongolian team conducted their bi-yearly All-Staff Training. The 16 participants traveled Mandal resort, about 60km from Ulaanbaator away and located in a beautiful, peaceful valley with a lot of snow and fresh air. It was a wonderful reunion after five months! As Mongolia is a vast country, our Mongolian Community Heroes don’t get often the chance to meet each other. The Community Hero who traveled the farthest comes from the western province Khovd about 1,500km away. There were altogether ten Community Heroes and two English teachers.
We much appreciated having Monika Nowaczyk, BOOKBRIDGE Country Development Manager, with us – she flew in from Cambodia. Jenni Myung, Peace Corps Volunteer and English teacher at our learning center in Arvaikheer also joined.
On the second day of the training, Tsolmon Gund, Chair of Board of BOOKBRIDGE Mongolia, visited us on the second day of training. With an MBA in education from the US, Tsolmon started her career as an English teacher and has edited several English schoolbooks.
During the training, we dwelled on topics like improving teaching skills and methods, learning new and best practice from each other as well as working towards the quality framework. Under this thematic part, Community Heroes Uuganaa, Buyanhishig and Monika presented mock lessons. Jenni showed us new techniques and shared resources to prepare test to assess students’ outcomes beyond memorization.
Additionally, we discussed positive attitude and business approach facilitated by Monika and Amar. Besides being a good teacher, these soft skills are crucial for the right mindset to run a learning center successfully in long-term.
Jenni’s session about activities and projects for the community and how to utilize a volunteer within a learning center was an eye-opening experience for us as it showed how Peace Corps Volunteers think and what is the best approach to work with them. In Arvaikheer, they have organized very successfully various activities together with Community Hero Uuganaa and their next big project will be “TedTalk” in May. How exciting!
A big surprise came the Mongolian Scout Association: two of our Community Heroes, Battuul and Maralmaa, were awarded as the best scout leaders. This makes us very proud as it shows that our learning centers engage with offering lots of children and youth activities and closely cooperate with the scout movement.
Overall the reunion was a great chance to catch up with each other and exchange ideas and experiences. It also painted a clearer picture of the next steps we as BOOKBRIDGE Mongolia and the single learning centers need to take. We from the country organization are going to explore the opportunities to advance further the skills of our Community Heroes.