Our Cambodian team held its 4th All-Staff Training on January 6-8 at our learning center in Angtasom. For the first time, the training was not only provided for Cambodian staff but there were also Sri Lankan and Mongolian Community Heroes participating. In total, nine Community Heroes, four librarians, one fellow, two staff members from the BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia team and Monika Nowaczyk, Country Development Manager at BOOKBRIDGE joint the event. – by Sujitha Miranda
Guests from Mongolia and Sri Lanka arrived in Cambodia on January 1: Uuganaa Gantumur, Head of Learning Center in Arvaikheer, Sujitha Miranda, Head of Learning Center in Bandarawela and Sampath Senawatte from our new learning center in Sri lanka. They gained knowledge through four different platforms: visiting the Cambodian learning centers plus Liger Learning Center, attending the All-Staff Training and personal exchanges with the other BOOKBRIDGE team members.
1. Learning Center Visits
Prior to the All-Staff Training, the guests got the opportunity to visit four BOOKBRIDGE learning centers in Cambodia: Tani, Angtasom, Tonloab and Takeo. Talking with the learning center heads and seeing the centers with their infrastructure and offerings they learned a lot about how to run a learning center. Whereas Sujitha and Sampath spent more time in Angtasom and Takeo with joining classroom activities Uuganaa visited Tani and Tonloab. They were amazed by the improvements of the learning centers and the students.
- They summarized the learning center qualities as followed
Tani: The learning center is well organized and Sothy is a very experienced teacher. Appearance and organizational structure were amazing. Uuganaa had a great time with the kids doing wonderful classroom activities with them. She also agreed on building bridges among the learning centers. The students handed over many gifts to Uuganaa to give them to their Mongolian friends.
- Angtasom: The learning center is also very clean. Community Hero Sothika is taking all efforts to clean and keep the environment clean. He is very talented and very eager to learn new things. He has two motivated teachers who could be trained to apply Student-Centered Learning. “I learnt to think positive and explore opportunities from Sothika. We planned to connect our students via Facebook.” said Sujitha after the visit.
- Tonloab: Community Hero Vannak Pen is very energetic and tries to implement new things in the teaching process. He is the best example for the teachers. He always explores new ideas.
- Takeo: Sujitha, Sampath and Takeo staff built bridges between their learning centers. Their students exchanged greeting cards and gifts and are now connected. Sujitha and Sampath had some classroom sessions with the students. The students are great: they not only understand English but can also have conversations in English. Community Hero Sreydieb and her assistant Sopheak are very friendly and open. They shared every single experience with the visitors. “I am about to open my learning center in Sri Lanka in March. These two ladies gave all important information to me. They shared all their knowledges and experiences with me and gave me a lot of tips. I learnt sharing and caring from them.” said Sampath.
2. All-Staff training
The All-Staff Training was a great opportunity for all the participants as it helped them to see their learning center in a broader picture.
The session on the Quality Framework by Monika was very useful. The Community Heroes clearly understood the strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvements at their learning centers. Sujitha stated that she will share this with her staff and post the summary sheet on her office wall as soon as she returns to Sri Lanka.
The experiences and best practices shared by Uuganaa were very useful for all Community Heroes and teachers. The teachers plan to use some of her techniques in their classes. The session on the Student-Centered Learning Process provided many tips to the teachers to improve their teaching skill.
Sokhan and Sanja shared tips and knowledge to help the Community Heroes to improve both their skills and learning center management. During the training, all Community Heroes and fellow Martina had the opportunity to share their experiences and give tips on “best classroom practices”.
To grow together as a team, the participants took a trip to Rabbit Island and stayed together at some nice home stays. During the get-togethers, everybody took the chance to share their experiences and cultures and discuss different issues. Thanks to the positive atmosphere, existing barriers were broken and bridges were built between the different countries.
4. Liger Learning Center Visit
Visiting Liger Learning Center was a great experience for all participants. The teaching process and the center’s environment gave many ideas to the participants including doing more useful projects for their respective communities. The visit helped the Community Heroes to sharpen the goals of their learning centers.
All-Staff Training facilitators Monika, Sokhan and Sanha were highly appreciated for their work by the participants. Sokhan’s management and coordination of the training was extraordinary. He was very concerned about the safety and facilities of the participants. He provided all things necessary on time, which was really remarkable and one of the best lessons the Community Heroes learnt from him.
New-employed Sanha is a great team members in the BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia team. He’s full of knowledge and one of the best persons for training teachers and motivating Community Heroes. He shared many tips with the participants, especially for teaching techniques.
Uuganaa is a wealth for BB. She is the best friend of everyone sharing her rich experiences and always encouraging everyone to be strong and to do their best. She gave many teaching tips and advices on designing courses.
Monika is always the favourite of the Community Heroes. She motivates and inspires them in her workshops. Her sessions energized everyone and made them to think deeply about the quality of their learning centers.
Sujitha expressed her gratitude to the organizers saying “this tour is one of the best experiences and learning opportunity in my life. It was so useful to me. As soon as I returned, I had a meeting with Satheesh and my Assistant Teacher and made many changes in the learning center process. This training energized me to work more focused. I would like to thank Monika, Sokhan, Carsten and BOOKBRIDGE for giving me this unique opportunity. I am looking forward for another great training program!”