Charlotte and Pierre are currently BOOKBRIDGE Fellows in Cambodia. Today, they write from our learning center in Ang Tasom.
After saying goodbye to our young students at the new micro learning center, we tried to focus on the learning center in Ang Tasom. Pierre and I thought that we should try to communicate more about the learning center to win new students but also to allow other children to come and take advantage of the library and its different facilities.
One of our goals is actually to help bringing in new children to allow them to enjoy our classes and environment. As a lot of people in Ang Tasom don’t know what BOOKBRIDGE actually does and can offer we thought of contacting the local High School to do something together.
We first tried to make some announcements on the megaphone of the High school that some classes would be given by us which brought a few faithful students coming to share and learn with us. Those ones come from 11 to 12am everyday with the strong will of improving their English. During the first sessions, it was hard to make them talk. It felt like a lecture which was not very pleasant for us and nor for them as they were not practicing their English at all. Cambodian teenagers are very shy, especially with foreigners I guess. So we started with games which only involved basic and simple answers which obviously gave them some confidence as now classes have become full of joy and they all dare talking no matter how good their English is.
As this class consists of only a few students and doesn’t really make the change as far as our goals are concerned, we then decided to go further in the development of the communication. The second step was thus to create some flyers and go distribute them all around the city. We started with the High School and ended up at the market where most of the mothers are. Trying to convince someone who doesn’t speak your language is hard but sometimes a look is stronger than words.
The week after a bunch of 11th grade students came, took a chair and started to talk with Pierre and me. Way more self-confident than the ones we have from 11 to 12am, this class is the same age in average but is very different from the other one. Even if we study the same thing it always happens very differently. But still we try to give a real structure to the class even though it’s hard for us as we’ve never taught before. Dealing with the differences of level is a real challenge but our goal will be to let nobody behind and make them progress altogether. We will thus try to assess the evolution of their English through some tests and recordings to show them their progress and what they still can improve.