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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Teachers Play Games and Learn English

On of my jobs at school is to teach an English Class for teachers. This is always a crazy fun adventure. In the middle of the day on Wednesdays most of the teachers have a free period while the students attend English Club or Journalism Club or Sewing Club or French Club. I think my school also has an Arabic Club and a Math Club. Sometimes community members teach the students in the “Clubs” so there can be 20 to 40 teachers and maybe 10 staff members who are there. The school principal and vice principal have asked me to teach them English. On alternate Wednesdays there is a Muslim man who comes and talks to them about Allah and being good Muslims.

Well, let me make that a little clearer – this is their FREE time so the teachers are in the teacher room: chatting, grading papers, planning lessons, etc and my job is to engage them in learning some English. The class gets cancelled for all kinds of reasons. So far I have taught: 1. How to read English on snacks, 2. Basic Introductions and 3.English words to use in the classroom.

Yesterday the lesson was “4. Giving Directions.” The objective was to get them to use “Turn right, turn left, go straight, across from, near, far, up, down” and some other words so they could give me directions in English so I could come visit them. Many teachers have asked me to come to their house. Not one could tell me where they lived.

I had prepared a hand out of a copied map showing an Indonesian community with a mosque, train station, market, etc. On it I had written key words and phrases in both Indonesian and English. As part of our training, we PCV’s have been taught that all lesson plans are supposed to have “Motivation, Presentation, Practice and Production.”

For Motivation I took a packet of money, (about $4.00 worth of Indonesian bills) put it on a desk, walked to the opposite side of the room and put a blindfold on and had the teachers tell me in English how to get to the money. I really couldn’t see and wound up banging into desks and walls as they attempted to give me directions.

Then I took the blindfold off, and spread the money out all over the room: on top of desks, on the floor, taped to columns, sticking out of books, etc. I told Eka who is the youngest male teacher that if he could find the money he could have it. Then I put the blindfold on him and asked him to spin around and told the teachers they could only speak English.

What craziness! Some of the other teacher puts coins on top of desks and had poor Eka work like crazy to find a penny. One teacher stuck a large bill under a gooey plastic bag. One teacher would walk over and move the money whenever Eka got close. They did use English, but as they got excited they would forget which was right and which was left.

After Eka found a lot of money, he took the blindfold off and said – “Now, girl teacher.” And all the teachers persuaded little Nanik into putting on the billfold.

I have no idea if the teachers found all the money or they all learned any English, or if they will do the “homework” and draw a map and write English directions to their house, but they all participated in an alternate teaching method to “Open your books and learn what is on page 61.” And I had fun! And that’s my criteria for a good lesson; make it fun enough that I (Oma Colleen) want to show up again tomorrow. Selfish, but it works for me, if I have fun, the kids and the teachers can tell and they are attracted to what I am offering.

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