Teaching English in a rural community
My friends Rachel and John, whilst they have been volunteering at Inspire Village, have been helping to improve the English education of children in a rural setting. They have been providing a weekly class for local children in their community church building. I was able to join them for a few lessons and to witness the impact that they are having here. The children live in a tiny remote fishing village on a lake near Anuradhapura in the north of Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, children in upper primary can pass exams and be granted scholarships to attend good schools. One child in the village has won one of these scholarships however due to the cost of the bus fare they are unable to attend. This all makes what Rachel and John are doing even more pertinent. To many Sri Lankans, in a society that relies heavily on tourism, having English as an additional language is essential.
The classes are held for a mixture of aged children, from 4-15! The children come to the local chapel weekly and spend two hours accessing games and activities to learn and improve their grammatical and conversational English. When I visited them, the children enjoyed playing a directions game, directing all of the adults to the lake in teams using their new directional language! The children also had to learn some new vocabulary and to practise finding, using and writing the sentences. We played 'Kim's game' a fun memory game to secure their recall and understanding of the new terminology. At the end of the session the children shared a terrifying Sri Lankan game in which everybody puts out their legs and one person jumps over them individually. If they succeed, their next challenge is to jump everybody's arm and leg (one placed on top of the other to make it higher!). This continues until the final and hardest task is that the player has to jump over everybody's backs as they are on their hands and knees! It was a close call but luckily we survived and weren't flattened by a class of children!