Ratana Bunyou is responsible for the library at BOOKBRIDGE learning center in Siem Reap, Cambodia. In this post, he describes the activities and programs offered at the center.
The learning center is a unique public source of English improvement for Cambodians. It helps its visitors to improve their English in three special ways: Offering English books to improve reading comprehension, encouraging visitors to speak English by offering English corners and English educational games, and improving listening comprehension by offering free English documentary films.
Our library contains more than 10,000 English books for visitors to read. There are many different kinds of books such as novels, fiction, histories, places, health, and so on. Moreover, there are CDs and DVDs and plenty of English educational games. Children and teenagers are mostly attracted by science books such as dinosaurs or outer space whereas adults and older people prefer novels. Everyday, adults come and read their favorite books while children like to look at the pictures of picture books. Other children prefer to paint and ask for crayons. Not only local people but also tourists are attracted by our offerings looking for information about sightseeing places in encyclopedia books. The visitors are mostly very impressed by the high number of books we offer.
But books are not our only offerings. We also provide English corners that are led by English speaking volunteers in cooperation with the head of the center. The English corners encourage people to speak English with native English speakers offering an effective way to improve speech comprehension. Using educational games makes learning easier and funnier and facilitates to speak English self-confidently without being scared to make mistakes. Together with our volunteers, we help people to have fun with learning English both by lending books and offering activities.
Our English documentary films are another learning resource. Supported by the NGO About Asia Schools the documentary films take place once a month, the entrance is free. The films are very exciting and wow the visitors by the spectacular scenes providing a positive learning environment. This way, the movies encourage the audience to understand its spoken description and the subtitles that are both in English making it another important source for learning English.
Since its opening in 2011, the learning center has become an important source of English improvement for the population in Siem Reap. At the moment, we are developing a new English curriculum to improve the quality of our educational program. This way, we hope to provide a source for Cambodians to improve their general living situation.