Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Learning and teaching in Cambodia

Cambodia is a very poor country.  Education level is very low.  The teachers are poorly trained and poorly paid.  Schools lack resources.  Teaching methods are very traditional, and rely very much on one-way lectures and memorisations.  Class time is short.  There is little homework.  Some students cannot do homework at home because they have no pencils.  Teachers are paid so little they have to supplement with part-time jobs.   

Yet there are some extremely diligent students. This girl’s notebook (paper version, not a computer) is amazingly neat, and actually colour coded.  She must be the teachers’ pet.  Yet she is not the only one.  

The students make do with very basic tools, such as hand-made protractors.  Yet many are quite keen.  

What we hope to do is to bring in fresh ideas and appropriate new technology. In addition to e-microscopes, we use tablet PCs to show animated lessons, lessons masquerading as games, videos, …   We teach in small interactive groups, making the students work together and learn together. Part of it is out of necessity - we simply do not have enough equipment so the students have to share.  The larger reason is that students often learn better in groups. 

We plan to keep coming back.  In a small way, we hope to make our own, hopefully lasting, contributions.  

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