Pupils at a Bangkok primary school have said 'sawasdee' (hello) to their new teachers - a group of students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
The students have been spending the week in the Thai capital helping to teach English as a foreign language to children aged 10 and 11, running workshops and fun activities focused around speaking English at Wat Bang Chalong School, in Bangkok province.
During the week, senior representatives from Thailand’s Department of Education visited the school and praised the students’ work, asking: “Can you stay all year?”
The ability to speak English is sought after skill by young people in Thailand as it improves employment chances and is required to be accepted onto further study.
All 14 students on the trip, who come from all four DMU faculties, all interested in working with young people in their future career paths, they chose to volunteer to gain valuable experience in the classroom and delivering engaging activities.
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Georgia Mann, BA Education and French, said: “By knowing that I have made a difference in all of the children’s lives by seeing their smiley faces when they have learned something new is the most rewarding thing. The experience has been immensely changed my perspective on life.”
Caprice Irving, BSc Speech and Language Therapy, said: “ This has been an amazing opportunity and one of the best experiences of my life so far. DMU Square Mile has enabled me to make a difference to a child’s life and I will remember it forever.”
Natalia Pospieszna, BA Accounting and Finance, said: “It has been the trip of a lifetime for me. I had a chance to put my knowledge into practice after finishing a TEFL course. It was more than I expected. I will never forget all the smiley faces!”
History student Kayleigh Cardy said: “You come away a different person, with a different perspective on life, and what matters.”
Communication Arts student Sam Jones added: “The trip has been absolutely amazing, the children are so excitable and they really enjoy everything we do. At lunch we look round the school and surrounding temple and the children flock over in swarms to meet and greet us with high fives and selfies.”
Owen McGinley, LLB Law student, said: “I previously completed the TEFL course with #DMUglobal and thought nothing more about it. I then received and email about this opportunity and applied on a whim and was accepted. It has been an amazing experience and I have really enjoyed it.”
The visit was organised by DMU Square Mile and Andrea Hansen from DMU’s Centre for English Language Learning (CELL) has been leading the academic English teaching. The trip was facilitated DMU’s sector-leading overseas experience programme #DMUglobal. Working in partnership with communities around the world demonstrates DMU’s commitment to the public good.
DMU’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard, who was in Bangkok on business, was able to see the students receive certificates from the school Rector in honour of their work.
Jess Bogic, widening participation manager at DMU Square Mile, praised the students’ work and enthusiasm throughout their week in the classrooms.
She said: “Each and every one of the students have been incredible. They’ve been able to connect with the children and come up with different ways of teaching.”
“The school has more than 1000 children and each day we have started the day by doing warm up exercises with all the children. They’ve been singing, dancing, and all the children have loved it as much as we have.”
The students also got to soak up some of the incredible culture in Thailand by visiting temples, taking a cruise along the Chao Phraya River, which runs through Bangkok, sampling the street food and shopping at the famous night markets.
Jess added: “It’s been an amazing experience for us all and we can’t wait to come back and do it all again.”
Rose Godfrey – MA English Language Teaching – said: “I could not pass up the opportunity to take part in this trip as it linked directly to my course. It has provided me with invaluable experiences and has been one of my most rewarding university memories. Definitely, the best #DMUglobal trip I have been on.”
Posted on Wednesday 15th November 2017