Teach the Teachers, Jan 2011 Teach the Teachers, Jan 2011

By Kate Shuttleworth -

We couldn’t have hoped for a better experience if we had written the script ourselves ...

For our Battambang and Siem Reap workshops in January 2011, we took a large group with 10 teachers and 12 non-teachers. In both of the workshops we introduced our new resource book which complements the Khmer curriculum and the mandated Maths workbooks provided by the government. For the first time we also included an art workshop and a PE workshop. The Khmer teachers (and the Aussies!) absolutely loved these. The Maths workshops were very successful. The Khmer teachers initially found the concept of planning difficult, particularly when they tried ‘backward mapping’ from the workbook to the resource book. However, after a lot of consultation during the breaks amongst ourselves and with the Khmers, we modified the plan and came up with something that everyone agreed was not only extremely useful but also practical. We hope that it will be really valuable to them all and look forward to their feedback.
We couldn’t have hoped for a better experience if we had written the script ourselves!
In the art workshop, all the teachers were taught how to sketch incredibly realistic 3D shapes, using charcoal from the campfire. None of us could believe how quickly we became really quite promising artists! The Khmer teachers took them back to their classrooms as a valuable resource as they have very few 3D objects at their disposal other than those found naturally in the environment. The PE workshop could be heard in the village, there was so much excitement! The teachers learnt a raft of group games and activities, covering a wide range of skills, and also shared their own games with us and each other. The most popular one was a game involving monsters chasing young maidens across the playground, growling and shrieking in Khmer! From the Aussies point of view, I think we all agreed this was a great trip. As a group, there was a wonderful feeling of camaraderie, across a range of ages and some (we hope) lifelong friendships were forged. This was good, because we spent every waking moment together, but still managed to have a great time in the evening, whether we were at a restaurant or a bar, or singing karaoke in a VERY dodgy establishment, or visiting the circus or the temples. Though exhausted by the end, I think every one of us was sorry when the trip was over and we had quite an emotional final dinner and speeches – the sort you can only make when you really feel you know each other! We are delighted to hear that 4 of the Aussie teachers have already registered for upcoming workshops, which we hope is a testament to the success of the programme in a variety of ways. Of course it is great for SeeBeyondBorders as it ensures some continuity over the different programmes. From the bottom of our hearts, a huge thank you to everyone who worked unbelievably hard in the heat and sometimes in less than ideal teaching environments. You made the very best of every moment and every opportunity that presented itself, to the benefit of all of us – Khmer and Aussie. We couldn’t have hoped for a better experience if we had written the script ourselves!

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