Natalie's Experience in Ramechaap

Here is some advice from a recent teaching volunteer:

 

Teaching:

What worked. Think about your Nepali lessons, if your teacher speeds through the work you won't remember it the next day, so go slowly. This is a great advantage because you don't have to think of a million things to do with the kids. For instance, if you just choose to teach them 10 new words, if they learn 10 words a day that is already 60 a week. How do you pass 45 minutes on 10 words?? so you write it on the board, get them to read it and get familiar with the pronunciation. Then get them to spell it, get them to play games. For instance, I practiced opposites with them: sun - moon, hot - cold, yes - no : and wrote a list on the right hand side of the board with the corresponding word on the left, got the children to repeat the order, then erased the left hand side and jumbled up the words. I then got the kids to come up and match the words with chalk. For instance, the first word on the right would be "sun" and it would match the third word on the left "moon." I would then erase the left hand side and rewrite the answers in a different order, the children taking turns to match the words. This takes time, they repeat the words, and they normally focus a little better. Getting the kids to physically DO things is they key, because you cannot really explain with words, showing them works best. I used the same method for teaching grammar - I go, you go, he / she goes, we go, they go. I wrote the I, you, he/she, we, and they on the right and jumbled the go, goes ect on the left. Once they had that, I wrote sentences with both options next to "I" or "she" and they had to come up and circle the correct answer. For instance "I go/goes to the market." I did that with a few verbs - to go, to see, to do, to want, to have, to say, to drink, to eat - and wrote:

 

"He go/goes to the market. He see/sees a girl. She is picking fruit. "Hello," he say/says. "Will you eat/eats that apple?"

"No," she say/says. She does not like apples. (you could even teach the negative and have does / does not) "Well then, do you want/wants some of my water?"

"Oh yes!" she say/says, "that is very kind of you. They drink/drinks together happily.

 

Ok, so it is a little silly, but it works.

 

Another method was to act out, use songs or rhythm because that helps the mind remember. For instance, when I taught opposites I taught them the Hokey Pokey for in and out and left and right. I made them walk north, south, east, west, forward, back, left, right. They love songs, especially "head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes." Drawing diagrams and labeling them also works -  especially if you are doing the body. One lesson I solely did the time, drew a clock and changed the time and asked what time it was, and what they do in the morning, afternoon evening. You can expand and teach them the verbs - to wake up, brush your teeth, ect. Lastly, they really took to reading. They do not get much exposure to pronunciation, so having someone sit and read with or to them makes a difference.  And if you go individually, it takes up time and others crowd around to listen or they carry on doing something. Stickers are a great motivation for participation. If I offered a sticker when they'd finished reading the paragraph, they'd all read and stay in the class to get their turn. They have a different alphabet, so, again, getting them familiar with the words is good. I did the abc's with the grade 2s. As well as counting and drew a crossword on the board with 11 written next to where "eleven" would be written in the crossword, 9 next to "nine" and had them spell it out. This crossword was in one of the books. Because they don't all have text books I just rewrote it on the board, got them to copy it or just complete it on the board. Or just writing out a story on the board and having the class repeat the story verbally.

I also had a routine of questions I'd ask at the beginning of each class and add another sentence every day or 2 days. Like "how are you," "I am fine thank you." "Did you eat today?" "Yes, I ate breakfast." "How old are you" "I am.. (depending on the class)" "What grade are you in?" "I am in grade 3, or 4, or 5." Also, I'd go over what we'd done the previous lesson or week briefly as a recap.

 

They do have some text books, so you can try follow them but normally the children are a bit behind and won't understand the comprehensions ect, but the exercise suggestions are very useful, as well as the content. Good luck! The kids are always excited to see you, even if they're naughty they want you to come to their class...

 

 

Behavior:

 

The kids run in and out, or fight, or talk, and sometimes listen! Because they won't understand if you just speak, they lose interest - another reason why even just walking around and naming "tree, flower, rock, sun" and having them repeat it is better than sitting in a class trying to verbally explain. Sometimes only 7 children would show up, and only 2 would listen. On those days I worked with whoever would focus, because it's almost impossible trying to get an energetic kid who doesn't want to learn to focus, especially if he doesn't understand you.. But the children who did focus learned well. And the next day the children were normally calmer and you could teach the whole class. It sort of alternates. They did love english music, and immediately asked me to teach them an english song. 'We will rock you' has the clapping, which they like. They have a drum, so you could even play musical statues if you can explain the game. Card games can work. Books and pictures are great, so they can SEE what you are talking about. Also, I was asked by some of the older children if I had english books to give them, something you may want to bring if you have space and wight left. Most importantly, have fun! If you have energy, they'll enjoy the class. And don't try be too serious, they're kids, if one day they just want to teach you a little Nepali ir Nepali games, just go with it and throw in some English words or games ect.