Teaching English at school
Main Project: Teach English and Other Subjects at our Schools and Temples
"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
As a voluntary teacher you do not need any pedagogical background. Maybe you are also studying pedagogy and would like to complete an internship abroad. Or are you dreaming of a sabbatical in Southeast Asia? Then go ahead! The classes are also different in size: in some schools, only 6 to 12 pupils go to one class, in others it is between 15 and 25, in some even up to 30. Among other things, at the elementary schools your creativity is in demand: use games, music, or small role-playing games - the little ones will be thrilled!
The following report was written by Jennifer Siu 2015 +++ UPDATE 2018: Thanks to the number of volunteers and donors the situation has improved, many children can now speak English +++ volunteers teach from 9-12:00 or 12-15:00 or the whole day from 9-15:00, 5 days a week +++ volunteers get also support from local teachers at the school.
Report Jennifer Siu 2015: Currently the volunteers have the opportunity to teach the children English. The lessons will be held at local schools and temples. helping you to get a picture of what to expect when you teach English at our schools, here a Report of English Education from two of the six schools we take care.
There are 6 villages around this area with 6 schools. Children at school are aged 4 – 14 years old. All 6 schools showed intention to work with us. However, given the constraints of resources we have at the moment, we can only accommodate two schools which are Ban Nong Phong School and Ban Nong Kung School.
Ban Nong Kung School-
There are around 120 students in Ban Nong Kung School with 7 classes. Students are placed into classes according to their age, start from aged 5 – 6 at kindergarten, aged 7 at “Pratom 1” to aged 12 at “Pratom 6”. There is no formal English class provided at school due to different limitations including low English level of local teachers, facilities in school etc. At the moment, Volunt2thai sent volunteers to this school every Monday to Friday, from 9am to 11:45am, (situational) facilitating English class to “Pratom 2” with aged 8 students.
Ban Nong Phong School-
It was a new collaboration with this school started early September 2015. There are only around 40 students aged 4 - 14 years old in Ban Nong Phong School. Volunt2thai sent volunteers there every Thursday and Friday afternoon, from 1pm to 3pm, (situational) facilitating English class. All 40 students attend the class at the same time because everyone would like to get the chance to learn English. In addition, volunteers facilitate a volleyball class with students every Friday afternoon from 2pm to 3pm.
Current status of students’ English learning
All schools do not have formal English class or have no English class at all.
English level of students:
- Basically zero
- Most students cannot identify capital letters and small letters, nor recognize all alphabets
- some students can say some words but not spell nor read
- cannot understand all verbal instructions, demonstration needed
- some students might have learning disability, e.g. dysgraphia or problem with eye sight.
Current status of teaching by volunteers
Volunteers are now teaching alphabets, numbers, days of the week and some vocabulary, like animals, colors, clothes, etc. It is not very systematic, given these collaborations with schools are just started and most volunteers just stay for a short period of time like, weeks or few months. There is no curriculum nor year plan yet, which would be ideal if there is any in the future. All teaching now is very hands-on and depends on the progress of student learning. (Update April 10, 2018: a curriculum is under development)
- Students do not have basic learning materials nor enough supplies for study
- There is basically no English teacher here. Local teachers speak very limited English or no English. If schools only rely on volunteers for English teaching, there will be a problem of continuation of student learning. (Update April 10, 2018: more local teachers speak English available now)
- There is lack of English speaking context. There are not many chances for students to speak, hear or practice English. Students are shy and not confident to speak English. (Update April 10, 2018: more volunteers now available)
Available for students
- English phonic book (but not everyone has it because it is expensive)
- Single line exercise book and basic stationery (but not all of them can afford. Some of them run out of paper and have nothing to write on; some of them do not have erasers, correction pens or even pencils or pens and need to borrow from classmates)
Computer rooms with around 6 very old computers in Ban Nong Kung School
(computers are not used most of the time)
- Wifi at classrooms
- Whiteboard with markers and erasers
- A4 paper and general stationery
- copy books- to practice writing letters and words
- stationery- pencils, erasers, etc
- single line exercise books
- plastic folders- for students to keep all the English worksheets or notes
- simple English phonic books, textbooks, and readers for all students, so everyone can follow the lessons better
- big posters with simple English vocabularies (e.g. Days of the week, body parts, colors, etc)
There are several suggestions for development in a long term.
- Collect, design and compile more education materials like worksheets or simple English textbooks for education use.
- Collect more donations for basic stationery and exercise books to make sure all students will have enough supplies for study.
- Establish a small English library in school by collecting simple English books and readers.
- Develop English course outline or a curriculum for whole academic year with different levels. So, volunteers can follow and keep students’ learning in progress
Simple conversations which encourage students to speak English. It helps them communicating with volunteers and other foreigners in a certain extent and boosting their confidence.
- Read and write
Start from very basic like recognize alphabets, phonics and spelling of vocabularies
- Equip local teachers with English, so local teachers can sustain English classes at school in a certain extent in case there is no volunteer, or even take over English classes in a long term.
- Get clinical psychologists, school psychologists, child psychiatrists, educational psychologists or developmental psychologists involved to assess students if they have any learning disabilities. Afterwards, train the teachers and parents what can be done and how to improve the situation.
- Cooperate with department of optometry in universities or optical professionals to facilitate general eye check-up for students (and probably extent to all villagers) regularly. Refer those identify with eye problems to the clinics, and look for donations for those who need glasses. (Same concept can be used for health check-up programme)
Teaching Sports at School
We are surrounded by a few little villages, where there are a total of 6 schools with children aged from 5 to 12 years old. We would love to offer them sports classes of 90 minutes per day maximum -two times 45mins for example- and we could only offer one school per day, so you would teach in a different school every day. Most of the kids here are strong and physical since they are used to playing outside or helping their grandparents in the farms. Often the parents do not live with the children so the grandparents are the ones who take care of them. The problem is that they do not know how to use this strength and are surely very talented, with a lot of potential. That is why we need someone to enhance their predispositions and allow them to make progress and blossom. Their talents have to be developed and supported.
The sport you offer can be anything you can think of, any type of physical activity. Team games are ideal in order to have everyone participate or relay races, gymnastics, football, volleyball, baseball etc… But keep in mind that our resources are limited, we only have a volleyball court, some gym rings left from a previous sport teacher, and many wide grass fields. You must be innovative with the little resources we have for you here, creating games and sports without any tools or infrastructure. You could also bring some small pieces of sport equipment as a donation (eg: a baseball bat) that you can leave for the kids when you leave. You must also take into account that depending on the seasons (raining seasons or heat waves) there may be less possibilities to practice sport with the children everyday.
Sports volunteers need passion to get people moving in good spirits and making sure everyone can be part of the moment. You need the ability to make fast changes in your plans, but also find a way to communicate without being able to use the same language, maybe even just using a clear body language. You need to be able to spread your passion and enthusiasm for sport through your teachings. Especially for kids, you must be able to include fun in your classes, creating a sense of concentration and being fully present in the instructor’s role that you’ll be playing. All kinds of experiments in this area are more than welcome; even if it demands you to work in an uncertain environment maybe under a little pressure, then let this be an opportunity for you to learn something too!!
Teaching Art & Craft Classes
By giving the children the opportunity to be involved in art and crafts lessons like drawing and painting, it helps them gain greater self esteem as it gives them a great sense of accomplishment and pride after creating something on their own.
Children are also able to hone skills that could be translated to other areas of their lives such as writing and dressing because it requires bilateral coordination and fine motor coordination. Because the children we take care of have very little or no education, finding it difficult to read and write, art helps the children to express their feelings and emotions which is crucial for their psychological development Other than physical and psychological benefits, having an art and craft project in our village helps the children to have fun and bond with one another, creating a harmonious and happy environment within the community.Where and when?
During school holidays courses in arts and crafts are held at the V2T campsite during the week from Monday to Friday. During regular school term the mobile classes will be held at the schools we take care of and at the after school art club.
What are the costs?
V2T Art and Craft Classes / Fine Art Painting Classes are free for the children of our villagers and a permanent part of the overall activities within the framework of the Volunt2Thai Association.
Why did we come up with this?
1) To help the children gain greater self-esteem.
- Give the children a sense of accomplishment by creating something of their own.
- Such as writing and dressing because it requires bilateral coordination and fine motor coordination.
- The children here have very little or no education, finding it difficult to read and write, art helps them to be expressive.
- Helps the children to bond with one another through activities.
With the support of international art schools and their students we gauge the artistic ability of each child, to help create a better and more efficient lesson plan for the students. During the lessons, we use as many different types of art mediums as our limited resources allow, such as oil acrylic and watercolors in order not to limit the creativity of the children. At the end of the program, we will display the artwork created by the students in our art exhibition to value each student’s performance, allow others to appreciate their work and hopefully to inspire the other students.
How is this financed?
During school holidays not only the children from the village are taught art, visitors can join with the children. Financially better-placed families and their children can join the courses against reimbursement of material costs and a donation to the project. Material and lessons are free for selected gifted villagers kids without a time limit. Year-round online auctions, on site charity events, including auctions of the paintings also support the project. Donors can receive “thank you” paintings from the children.
Future job prospects for the students
This project will help the children on their way to the future. It will give them an opportunity to shine and most importantly, to use their imagination since the people who will succeed in the more financially rewarding labor markets will be those who can think creatively and generate the ideas that will propel economic growth.
Volunt2Thai is well integrated into the local community and the village council. As a volunteer you accompany a thai farmers family in their daily routine. This would include harvesting, sowing, fishing and many other seasonal activities like construction and crafts.This is a physical demanding task and the working day is long. The farmers have a very broad understanding of the nature that surrounds them and the sustenance that it can provide.
Your help supports the community and their families. In return, you will learn traditional knowledge from the Thai farm about house and field, garden, farmland, forest, culture and family, passed on for centuries. The Thai farmers themselves are your coaches, some at an advanced age with knowledge acquired over a lifetime.
Examples of agriculture and construction projects
- Construction of buildings
- Carpentry, interior
- Preparation of charcoal
- Seasonal emptying of fishponds
- Working at the rice mill
- Create tools
- Agriculture and land care
Kitchen and herbs
- Processing of own products
- Vegetable and animal origin
- Search and processing of bushfood (bush food)
- Create spice garden
- Cook Thai food/Cooking methods
- Conservation methods
Introduction to Natural Remedies of Thais
- Peasant handicrafts, household items, use tools
- Build and provide tools for hunting and harvesting incl. traps
- Tools for the harvest and landscape management
- Tools and containers for storage and preparation of food
- Repair work
- Maintenance work
- Milling of different varieties of rice
- Explanation of the operation
- Preparation of the falling products to animal feed
- Volunteering at the local temple embellishment and maintenance work with the villagers
- Preparation of festivities
- Working with children, games, language
- Introduction to the costs incurred in the work involved in producing agricultural products (plant and animal origin), such as fish, poultry pork, rice, sugarcane, rubber plantation and fruit.
Medical practical training
Medical projects (currently not possible hospital under renovation)
Phen Hospital is hospital located in Amphoe Phen, in the North East of Thailand. This hospital has the following wards:
- Emergency Room (8 beds)
- Operating Room (1 mayor room, 1 minor room)
- Labour Room (8 beds)
- Male ward / Female ward (both 30-40 beds)
- OPD (where they register patiënts and admit them into the wards)
- Thai Traditional Medicine (practice Thai massage, herbal medicines and accupuncture)
- Physiotherapy room
- X-ray Room
- COC team (homecare)
Phen Hospital does not have an ICU ward, so when patients are in need of ICU treatment, they will be referred to Udon Thani Hospital by ambulance (30-45 minutes away) This hospital also has got no CT-san so if a CT – scan is indicated a patient will be referred to Udon Thani Hospital.
Your tasks as a nurse in Phen Hospital depend on your skills and experience as a nurse. The nurses are willing to teach you or help you with anything. Your main tasks will be:- Checking vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature, saturation)
- Checking blood sugar
- Distributing medicines (including IV – medication)
- Giving IV treatment
- Giving first aid after for example traffic accidents
- Giving a urinary katheter
- Taking blood samples
- Giving Injections
- Taking urine / stool samples
- Taking care of wounds
- Stitching wounds
- Giving oxygen therapy
- Assisting at delivery room
- Teaching the staff some english
- Exchanging your experience with the Thai nurses
The challenges you can experience in this hospital are the language barriere. Most of the nurses speak some English, but only a few of them speak real good english to understand what’s going on. Learning the Thai language might help you to understand more of what’s going on in the hospital. All of the staff is willing to help you practice the Thai language. Besides that you have to realise that they have their own way of treatments and that they are used to treat patiënts this way. It might be different to what you learned in your country but try to open up fort heir way of treatment and experience the healthcare of Thailand. But don’t worry, they also want to learn from your experience.
The villagers are in need of physiotherapists taking care of the old people, especially stroke patients since there is no medical support for such cases available. If you are physiotherapist and want to donate your time, your support is very welcome. In the past, we could support with physiotherapy and we would love to continue with this very helpful support for the villagers.
Spend some time in the temple
Example daily routine in a temple (may change sometimes)
- 4:00 - Getting up, personal hygiene
- 4:30 - Wai Prah, chant - meditation
- 6:00 - Preparing food space
- 6:05 - Bin Tha Bat: Walking through the streets in rank, collecting the daily ration of food from the village people. The volunteer carries the food container.
- 7:00 - Rap Prathan Ahan: Food consumption with the others.
- 8:30 - Clean the Wat (temple), sweep the floor and clean the paths.
- 11:00 - The leftovers from Bin Tha Bat will be eaten as lunch.
- 12:00 - Private Time, meditation, (you can expect help from the Buddhist nuns/monks)
- English / Thai Training
- 15:00 - Clean and maintain the temple, even the statues must be maintained
- 17:30 - Wai Prah: Meditation
- 18:30 - The day is over, you can talk with the others or learn walking meditation (with the support of Buddhist nuns/monks)