English Language Centre
English as a Foreign Language
Learning English is vital for many reasons; it’s even more critical in countries like Cambodia, where the native language isn’t spoken nor understood outside the country. It’s a key to the future!
We have classes for kids (primary school) and classes for adolescents (secondary school), as a complement to what they learn at school. Cambodian law imposes English as a subject in all schools as from grade 4, but most schools cannot meet this requirement, due to lack of skilled teachers
The classes for primary school kids (3 levels; phonics, level 1 and level 2) take place in the morning (for the kids who attend public schools in the afternoon) and in the afternoon (for those who go to the public school in the morning). We work in small groups, emphasis is on speaking skill.
The classes for secondary school students (3 levels, 1,2 and 3) take lace in the lter afternoon, between 5 and 6 pm.
Currently, over 200 students attend the classes daily!
English for Teachers
Most of Cambodia's English language teachers speak English as a second or third language rather than as their first language. Teaching English is compulsory in all primary and secondary schools, but most teachers' level of language proficiency doesn't meet the minimum standards.
English for Teachers focusses, besides on general English, on English for Teaching. It encompasses teachers' ability into three functional areas: managing the classroom, understanding and communicating lesson content, and assessing students and giving them feedback.
The entire English for Teachers approach is based on the concept of 'Flipped Classroom': trainees work themselves through the content of a lesson (grammar, vocabulary ..) outside the classroom. The time in class is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the coach guides students to apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.
We work in three levels: pre-intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced.
Language centre projects
Centre for Speech Excellence
The Centre for Speech Excellence, setup in cooperation with Vives, university for Applied Sciences, department of Speech therapy, specialises in pronunciation, speaking in public, voice training and remediation of voice problems.
Everyone is familiar with the jokes about Asian students ordering "flied lice" and, in fact, such pronunciation problems persist today. To a large extent, Cambodian students have problems with pronunciation and stress. This is primarily since their native tongue may not have that particular sound (their native grammar may even prohibit making that sound) and the absence of "consonant clusters" (strings of consonants such as s-t-r in the word strong).
We help teachers improving their own pronunciation and stress patterns, and coach them when it's their turn to be in front of a classroom. We provide voice-training and teach them how to identify and remediate common problems in their classrooms.
Language Buddies is a program in which a student teacher from Cambodia has an online conversation with a partner from the North twice for an hour every week for 20 to 25 weeks (1 semester).
The video calls run 1 on 1, via platforms such as Zoom, Teams, Skype, Messenger, Telegram ...
The themes for the conversations are determined in advance, and both the 'mentee' (the teacher in training in the South) and the 'mentor' (the interlocutor in the North) receive a 'Target Language Sheet', a vocabulary list that serves as can be used during conversations. The mentor also receives a questionnaire that can be used as a tool to feed the conversations content.
The purpose of the conversations is to promote the language skills of the mentee (expand vocabulary, gain confidence in speaking a foreign language, improve pronunciation, ...) and, for the mentor, improve the understanding of the living situation in the South and familiarize oneself with intercultural cooperation.
After a first season, which greatly exceeded expectations, both in terms of the number of participants (more than 75 'couples') and in terms of impact (the participants' language skills improved much faster than we expected), we are starting a second round.
Based on last year's experience, we have made some minor adjustments (for example, the Target Language Sheets have been simplified somewhat, the follow-up has been more tightly organized, etc.). We had an extensive evaluation meeting with every Cambodian mentee who was already part of the project last year, and on the basis of this we have mapped out a follow-up process for some of them. This follow-up trajectory can consist of a second series of interviews (but at a higher level, or in a specific field), or a series of interviews with mentors with a special profile (eg speech therapists) to work specifically on certain aspects.
Bla Bla Kru
Mastering the art of conversation is a skill – mainly when that conversation is not in our native tongue. When acquiring our first language, we start with speaking before moving on to grammar and writing skills. However, learning a second language often focuses on reading and comprehension first rather than verbal narrative. If speaking is the primary language skill needed, how can conversation practice be better integrated into language training?
Bla Bla Kru (Kru is the Khmer word for Teacher) brings English speaking travellers and local English teachers together around small tables over a coffee or refreshing drink. Every Sunday, late afternoon, we gather with tourists, make small groups, and …talk, talk, and talk.
It’s a low threshold, fun activity for both sides of the table.
Traditional language teaching is heavily based on students answering teachers’ questions and this is not indicative of how adults use a foreign language in the real world.
Bla Bla Kru is only about the conversation. Forget grammar, forget manuals, forget tests and exams!
Interested ? Let us know through this link
Our library is open to all students and teachers, and contains fiction - and non-fiction books.
For teachers we have an on-line library with hundreds of works on pedagogy and English linguistics.
Dear (Drop Everything And Read)
DEAR stands for ‘Drop Everything And Read’.
The project wants to achieve a higher reading comprehension level for secondary education students. The most direct and almost automatic effect of regular (story) reading (of texts at their level of learning English) is acquisition of vocabulary (the learner’s mental dictionary), which counts for a rough 95% of all foreign language communication. At the same time, the project aims to improve the students’ speaking skills and raise their confidence when speaking for a group.
More details : click on the DEAR logo
Another fantastic way to acquire a language is by watching movies.
TV and movies have something for everyone, whether it’s drama, romance, soap operas, nature documentaries or the news. And all this can help you improve your language skills. The diversity in narratives, genres and themes will allow you to learn a language from all kinds of angles! No need to understand every single word; the context helps to understand.
We always use movies with closed captions, and this is of great support for the trainees. Sunday is movie day!
Teacher Training Centre
ITTSR: Interactive Teacher Training
ITTSR, Interactive Teacher Training Siem Reap is designed for early-career teachers of English.
It is widespread in Cambodia that young people, after graduation from secondary school, come to town to study or find a job. Many of them, providing they know a few words of English, start teaching English in all kinds of NGO’s and community organisations. Unfortunately, none of them had any training.
Even those who go to universities to obtain a bachelor in English Literature or TESOL are unprepared for teaching. A TESOL bachelors degree, for example, is spread over five years, and it is not before starting year four that students get their first pedagogy courses. But, no job means no income, and no income means no university! Parents are unable to afford further education.
The Interactive Teacher Training Program provides these young teachers with basic training on how to teach English. The course lasts one semester (on Saturdays/or Sunday mornings, each session is 4 hours) and covers 15 topics. The course is interactive, with a large variation of activities, reflection and observation tasks, roll-plays, discussions a.s.o.
EPPS: English in Public Primary Schools
Public primary schools are deemed to teach English for 2 hours a week to all students, starting from grade 4. That affects, in the province of Siem Reap only, a population of around 100.000 students (grades four and up of primary schools). Unfortunately, many schools cannot live up to this expectation, as there are hardly teachers able to speak English, not even to mention the ability to teach it.
The province of Siem Reap has over 500 primary schools, counting for over 5.000 staff. We train one (for large schools two or tree) teachers per school. The content of the training is in paralel with the ITTSR (see above) program, but has been adapted to meet the needs of public school teachers : they are tied to a curriculum, have often (very) large classes and have fewer technical resources than their peers in NGO's.
I Teach Cambodia
The objective of the Teacher Training Program is to provide free training to Cambodian teachers, mainly those working in NGO’s and informal education projects, covering pedagogical skills.
Short modules, allowing the participants to continue their current (often teaching) jobs. Every module (around 20 hours per module) will offer students (groups of no more than 15 students) the possibility to attend the weekday program (one day/week for 5 weeks) the weekend program (Saturday or Sunday, for 5 weeks), or the all in one week program (for remote students, 5 full days where the students are offered compensation for transport and accommodation). During regular school hours, the practice training will be done in cooperation with the schools where the students are currently teaching.
The curriculum focuses on English Language Teaching skills. The program is developed in cooperation with reputed universities and Language centres across the Anglo-Saxon world.
Centre of Education Expertise
Some of our trainees are exceptionally gifted and motivated to pursue further education at universities. We help by providing scholarships and support.
IT for Teachers
The ICT for Teachers program is designed to equip teachers with ICT competencies to strengthen their own professional capacities and to effectively use ICT tools and devices in their learning and teaching.
The digital skills that teachers need have long moved on from just using word processing and spreadsheets software. Digital skills that 21st-century teachers should have include cloud storage and sharing solutions, social media, web editing, image editing, presentation software, and general multimedia.
The basic IT for Teachers courses are online, and every trainee can participate in the course at their own pace. The program covers the most used desktop applications, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Lists, ToDo, Forms, Outlook, OneDrive etc …
A test is provided at the end of each module, and those who pass can rightly call themselves proficient user.
As digital media proliferate, and increasing amounts of daily work are performed in digital environments, there are increasing demands from parents, educators, and governments to deploy educational technologies, whether as a means to improve the quality of education in general, or as tools to familiarize students with the technologies that will shape their future lives.
While all schools may share a common goal of educating students, there is a broad diversity of available resources, such as infrastructure, qualified staff and financial means.
Also, moving from the classical in-classroom lecturing to interactive teaching-apporaches, supported by technology, requires a change of didactic approach
The ICT4E (Information and Communication Technology For Education) project guides educational institutions, NGO’s and public schools, in their choices of technology, the deployment and maintenance of the chosen solutions, training and coaching of system administrators and users (delivery of TELT-projects: Technology Enabled Teaching and Learning).
The differences between online and classroom instruction go beyond technology alone. How teachers deliver information, interact with students, and assess learning is much different in a virtual learning environment.
The ICT4E project delivers training to teachers, technical and pedagogic, to make them familiar with the various concepts of online teaching/learning.
Our Outreach Program
Although it’s not at the core of our mission, an organisation that works in a country like Cambodia can’t ignore that sometimes people in our immediate surroundings have an imminent need for support. Covid-19 made this more pressing, but even after the pandemic, the needs remain enormous.
At first, we thought of distributing food packages to the neediest families. After some reflection, the team concluded that this might not be the best solution: it requires a lot of organisation and workforce, on a larger scale, it disrupts the local markets, and the beneficiaries are reduced to beggars, on who’s behalves others decide what, when en how they should eat. It’s not that there is not enough food on the market; it’s not that these families don’t know how to manage their budgets; it’s not that they don’t know how to prepare a healthy meal for their kids... They only lost their jobs and income due to the crisis in tourism and the lack of social benefits.
We try to respect people’s autonomy and dignity. So we provide them with paid work. Paid work, be it on a temporary and part-time basis, provides people with an income to spend freely and without paternalistic supervision or interference. The jobs provided are beneficial to our organisation (gardening, minor maintenance ...) or the community (removing trash from the neighbourhood, ..)