By Ponheary Ly

Following like my father before me, I was also a teacher.  Over about 20 years I taught both at primary and secondary levels here in Siem Reap.  I also spent time away from home in Phnom Penh and through scholarship programs, in Russia and France so I could receive train-the-teacher training.  In this time away I was taught the skill of how to teach foreign languages.

For the last couple of months I have been lending my expertise of teaching foreign languages to our government teachers and also new language teachers (who were once PLF students) and who are now teaching English to our students at Tchey and Knar schools.


PonhearyinClassThe Cambodian education that our teachers received and which our current students are taught is based on rote learning with no interaction other than repetition of what the teacher is saying.  My aim is to continue to grow our teachers ability to make use of other ways of teaching.  Such as fully using the books available, including the workbooks and audio sections, the blackboard, getting the students to speak in pairs or groups and playing learning games and having fun.

I started by observing the teachers, their activities and their character and then I led a class for them so they could follow my example.

I then created a model of a lesson plan for them to work from which they are now providing to me on a weekly basis.

Translation is the last choice” is the thing I keep telling them again and again as it is very easy for our teachers to fall back into using Khmer to explain something in their English class.  I tell them to use English, then actions, body language, pictures anything to get the message across, before they use translation.

I enjoy getting to use my teaching skills again to help out and take the teachers and their students down a successful path. It’s fun to be back in the classroom with the teachers and students showing them there is no need for boredom in the classroom, how they can learn and have fun!

Speaking and understanding English is so important for our students future.  We need to help our English teachers to become the good teacher.

It’s my work and I am happy to do it!