Roman is BOOKBRIDGE fellow at our learning center in Tonloab, Cambodia. In this blog post the young man from Switzerland describes his first weeks at the learning center.
It has now been two weeks since I’ve arrived in Tonloab. And it went by really fast. I know already that I have to enjoy every single minute of my 6 months stay here. On the first day, I met everybody directly or indirectly involved at the Learning Center Tonloab: Ra, Vannak, Mom, all the IT and English teachers and of course all the students, who were very interested in meeting me. The cambodian people are known to be very welcoming and it’s right. I felt at home right from the beginning and this will surely help for my integration in a new culture and environment.
On the first two days, I had the chance to meet the previous fellows, Alex and Ruby from Belgium, for a two-day handover. This was really great. They prepared a very comprehensive summary of their initiatives, successes and remaining challenges, as well as a financial overview of the Learning Centre and we all agreed that there is great potential. I also attended Ruby’s last singing class, which gave me great inspiration for the take-over. The children were very enthusiastic and knew all the songs very well!
We then made a tour of the Learning Centre and I finally discovered everything “on the ground”, the library, the IT-Class, the Classrooms and discussed about how to continue to improve the quality of learning and teaching and the technologies that motivate the students.
Alex and Ruby made a few suggestions for the next steps to take, which are part of a set of common goals we set at the end of the week in the expectation workshop. Vannak and I also attended a very interesting and well prepared presentation about key facts of Cambodia, thanks to the amazing work of Ra. I would already like to thank Ra for his work during this week. During the first couple of days, I also had the chance to teach some english songs, which the students really like. Opening an acting class would be amazing and I will do everything I can to make it possible.
As I said, we set up a number of goals for my fellowship, together with Vannak. Our main focus will be on teaching and learning methodologies that allow students to improve their conversation skills in and outside the classroom. It is crucial to involve the teachers as much as possible. We also want to connect the english classes with IT-tools. As the center is still relatively new, we want to attract more students and open new classes. Therefore, expanding the visibility of Bookbridge within the community is also a priority. Monitoring the students’ progress, expanding IT tools withing the library are also points we would like to work on. As you see, there is great potential and I am more than enthusiastic and motivated to contribute to the Learning Centre.
And it started right away. Right before the monthly holidays started, we organized a flyering campaign and visited the students’ families. The students were able to perform the songs they learned with Ruby and also one new song I taught them! It was a fantastic day and I also got to see the beautiful surroundings of Tonloab. The idea was to attract student and open a conversation class, in line with our main priority. Moreover, we are developing a way to install brand new tablets so that the students can use them and play educationnal exercices, such as Alexercise!
I am really looking forward to the next couple of months and I am sure we will create sustainable impact to continue developing this Learning Centre “one that we are proud to show”!