One thing that is very special about this project is that other then working and taking data for the elephants we also get the opportunity teach the local adults and children English. I have been lucky to have been able to work in the local school in the second grade class with 6 very smart 5 year olds.
GVI goes up to the local school 3 times a week and works with grades 1-6. Each class has less than 10 children and there is always a teacher and a teacher’s assistant. The kids work with both learning English words and memorizing along with phonics. On a typical class day the 12 teacher arrive up at school at 2 o’clock greeted by all of the kids waiting for us to relieve them from their Thai lessons.
Example of the children playing a memory game with the new words they have learned.In my second grade class we are now learning family members and rooms in the house. The way we teach the kids the different words is by using pictures and saying the word in English and then I ask them what the word is in Pakinyaw so that they understand what the word means. It is very cool because not only are they learning the words in English they are also helping me learn the words in Pakinyaw. In order to keep the attention of the kids and keep them wanting to learn we play a lot of games engaging the kids using the new words they have learned. One of the kid’s favorite games is the “slap game”. This is when they kids are split up in to two teams and there are the words all around the room and the teacher says “where is the (word on the flash card)?” and the kids need to remember the new word and the first one to slap the word gets a point for their team. A little competition also helps the kids to stay focused and want to keep learning.
Even in the short amount of time that I have been able to work with this amazing class I have seen them learn so much and that is such a satisfying thing. To see them understand and use what you have taught them is very cool. From working with this class they have made me realize how clever kids are and how willing they are to pick up the new language. When I used to walk in to class they would say “hello teacher” or they would just call me “Gola”. Now when I come into class they know my name and say “Hello Annika”. Not only have I been able to help them to learn more English but they have also been able to help me learn a bit more pakinyaw and help me interact more with the villagers and with my homestay family which really enhanced my whole experience here.