Tonloab adopts Student-centered Methodologies

Vannak and Sreymuom reviewing the goals of 2015 in Tonloab
Vannak and Sreymuom reviewing the goals of 2015

Roman supports our learning center in Tonloab, Cambodia as fellow. Read what he experienced at the yearly staff training of BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia.

Thanks to Sokhan, I got invited to the yearly 3-day BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia staff meeting in Siem Reap. This was not only a very interesting event for me, but also for the staff of the Learning Centers, especially since they took the plane for the first time! Their excitement really plugged in to me, who is used to take the plane. Some were really sad that it was already over after 30 minutes while others were probably happy being on solid ground. After this exciting flight, we visited the amazing, beautiful and famous Angkor Vat Temples. We even went to the Banteay Srei, which is a bit further away. But the detour was worth it. I have never seen such beautiful ornaments.

On the first day, each learning center presented success stories, current challenges and possible solutions as well as practical learning offerings, such as Alexercise. In the afternoon, the BOOKBRIDGE Cambodia team welcomed Monica. We then discussed the impact measurement and pilot implementation plan. The idea is to assess the impact the learning centers have created in the communities. On day two, Ra presented the learning center guidelines in terms of children safety, this was followed by a very interesting discussion about quality of education. Quality is a much broader concept than many might imagine. It encompasses various dimensions such as content, instruction, learning environment and outcomes. Having been active at UNESCO, seeing this again on a more local level was very inspiring for me.

On the last day, every learning center had to set goals for 2016. Tonloab wants to implement student-centered teaching methodologies, (better) involve more actors and improve the learning environment. These goals will serve as a red string for the upcoming and last months of my fellowship. After coming back from Siem Reap, Vannak and I reported what we discussed during the workshop to the team in Tonloab.

A student draw an amazing map of Tonloab, which served as the basis for the course content
A student draw an amazing map of Tonloab, which served as the basis for the course content

Vannak and Sreymuom reviewing the goals of 2015
In the last couple of weeks, as I said, the focus is on student-centered methodologies, which I applied a lot in my conversation classes, and the results are there. The students feel more confident in answering questions, they are more motivated and active. Needless to say that their progress is impressive! During the afternoon, co-teaching with the teachers is going great and, while having to stick to the course content, there is always room to create some student-centered activities, such as connecting the course content to the reality of Tonloab, asking students more about their personal opinion, working in groups, etc.

Finally, we also wrote down some rules and responsabilities for teachers and students as well as some rules for the Library. Meanwhile, I will begin to find and create exercises in relation to the course material that enable the teachers to use more student-centered material. This is a big task but a truly meaningful one. Be ready for more news from Tonloab very soon!

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