Teaching English during a gap year
One of the reasons that people choose Africa and Asia Venture for their Gap Year is due to the fact that they become exposed to rural communities, with strong cultures and often groups with little in the way of English skills. Our AVs are often teaching English through lessons, games, songs, art and other activities to a range of age groups who are keen to learn a new language. Although it can be difficult on both sides initially, the rewards do come and can be life changing.
A recent AV explained: “Many of our teaching methods and ideas, as well as our accents, were new to them and it took us a while to get them to understand what and how we were teaching them. When they did however, they often threw themselves into it very enthusiastically. For a few weeks I couldn’t walk around the school without one of the songs I’d taught the children being sung at me!”
Night school in Siddim
Another of our recently returned AVs was kind enough to share a story about Ongkit, in a night school in Siddim. Here is Richard’s experience:
“In the night school, our approach was to focus on speech primarily. We felt this was the area where we could be most useful, being native english speakers, as the kids were all learning the technical aspects of language in school.
“One exercise we did, to focus on speaking ability, was simply asking each student questions about their day, attempting to create a small dialogue. There was one girl who would always ask the older students for answers at the beginning. One of the biggest indications of our impact on these children is that by the end, she was telling the older students to be quiet so she could answer on her own!
“This showed us that, if nothing else, we had given the students a massive boost in confidence in their speaking ability and even if their language isn’t perfect, they now know that speaking to the best of their ability is always the right thing to do.”
We love hearing this type of feedback from our AVs, who come home feeling as though they have genuinely made a different to someone’s life through learning new skills.
If you’ve had a similar experience when volunteering abroad, we’d love to hear your story!