Thursday, April 21, 2011

Teaching in Sri Lanka

Teaching in Sri Lanka is understandably nothing like teaching in Australia. To begin with, the teaching takes place outside on the concrete under a tin roof. There is a blackboard and nothing else - no chairs, desks or most importantly lights, which means while I take my one-two hour English lesson in the afternoon as the monsoonal rain belts down, the children squint to see me and my well-intended resources. I also need to  yell quite loudly in order to compete with the crashing thunder and sound of rain belting on the tin roof.

I really had no idea what to expect on the first day but I wasn't surprised to find 20 odd children ranging from 4 to 16 years old waiting eagerly to learn something when my tuk-tuk pulled up in front of their 'school'. I had heard a range of reviews about their level of English but after the first day  found that it varied from non-existent to reasonable with those who can speak English having mainly memorised things in a particular rote order, including the letters of the alphabet which many struggle to identify if asked randomly.

Obviously it is quite a challenge teaching to such a broad range of abilities but their appreciation and beautiful smiling faces make it more than worth while. I didn't bring any resources with me and even left my computer back in India with all my teaching ideas and plans on the desktop but I have managed to rack my brain for enough lesson ideas that are adjustable enough to the different levels. Ideally, splitting the children into ability groups would make their experience much better but as there are no pens or paper or resources each group would require a 'teacher' to support them and of the 10 or so volunteers working here, Brent is the only one I can convince to come along. Yesterday I discovered the children love to play Bingo, so I spent the day creating Bingo cards that have simple sight words instead of numbers so hopefully that will be a hit and a good teaching point for today.
The children making letters in groups with their bodies - this is a T

Using the floor and chalk instead of pencil and paper

Word Bingo


  1. Well done! Kristen, keep up the good work!!!

  2. Hi Krissy & Brent,
    Wow you guys make us so proud, you both will leave an everlasting impression on these people