Our Mobile Learning Center Angroka is piloting a new method to teach English alphabet to beginner students.
Initially, teachers followed the conventional method to teach A to Z using examples of words beginning with each letter of the alphabet. According to Head of Learning Center Sothika Khoeun, this method can be less engaging thus having less learning efficiency. The method only helps students to remember letters and translate example words. However, it will not teach them spelling patterns or compositing letters to form words. That’s why Sothika has adopted a new method inspired by VSO English alphabet teaching book that is available at the learning center’s library.
Logic approach to alphabet learning
The new helps student to learn not only individual letters (consonants and vowels), but also the logic of how to use/blend individual consonants and vowels to form words. Students do not learn in chronological order from A to Z consecutively. They learn a certain number of related letters together at a time and then learn to blend them in order to create common patterns of word formation.
For example: A, B, C and T are learnt at one time. Then students start to blend these four letters. The pattern that is followed is easy to remember making it easier to learn the spelling of other similar words. This way, the pattern ‘AT’ is the base for B+AT=BAT and C+AT=CAT. Following this method, students can best memorize and recognize letters as well as common patterns of the blending letters in order to form words. It also facilitates writing, reading and spelling words. After reaching letter Z, students learn the alphabetical order as part of the summary of the whole learning process.
Similar to Khmer alphabet methods
Sothika says that the new method is similar to Khmer alphabet teaching methods. After having adopted the new learning pattern, he has started another new approach: students compare each English letter with a Khmer letter that has a similar or the same sound. This helps students to better remember the pronunciation of English letters. Another idea is to teach consonant blends that make up sounds similar to Khmer consonant blends, for example sn, bl, tr, etc.
Though the center’s teachers find the new method still unfamiliar, Sothika believes that more efficient. Also, it is an attractive new learning approach for the community and potential students. Together with promotional marketing strategies, he hopes to increase the learning center’s competitive edge. His current challenges are training teachers and providing good teaching material. After successfully implementing the new method at learning center Angroka, Sothika’s goal is to adopt it for learning center Angtasom. He also hopes that the community and local primary schools will become aware of it and integrate it in their teaching methods.