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Teaching English at a Migrant School

January, 2015
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2014-12-06-10-46-51-185On 25 October, sixteen Year 12 students from the British School of Beijing (BSB), Shunyi and Supervisor Mr Alles made a second visit to the Migrant English School in Tongzhou to teach English to children who otherwise would not get the opportunity to learn English. Compared to the first visit, we were much more confident to teach at the Migrant English School and we endeavoured to organize the class much better.

Two days before our actual visit, my fellow classmates and I planned for our English class. First, we expected that there will be many children so we thought that dividing them into five groups would be much more effective than in one large group. Then, with help from BSB teachers, we made our plan to include teaching colours, rainbow songs and how to introduce themselves in English.

When we arrived at the Migrant English School, there was no playground for the studentsto play in.  However, even though the condition of the school was not the best, the students waved their hands and happily greeted us. Most students were around seven years old. As we expected, there were too many students in one classroom, and it was difficult for us to control and start the class. Although our original plan was to divide the students into five groups, we ended up with two groups due to a lack of Chinese speakers who could communicate with the students. One group went to another classroom and learned how to pronounce their names in English. The other group stayed and learned how to say colors in English.

I stayed with the group of children who were learning colours in English. We first taught the colours in Chinese and wrote them in English on the blackboard. We gave them time to memorize the colors in English. Due to time limits, the children were eager to finish in time and worked hard. After the time ended, we picked colored papers and asked them what the colors were in English.

After taking a break for five minutes, all 52 students gathered in one classroom again. They were now able to say their names in English. They had some time to memorize some sentences in English and surprisingly they did this very well. From the two trips we made to the Migrant English School, we were able to learn how to educate children effectively and draw their attention. I was so surprised about their quick memorizing abilities. When we gave children compliments and encouraged them, they were eager to memorize more. We were so satisfied with their achievements.

2014-12-06-10-32-30-790This volunteer work was hard for me. However, when I saw the achievements of the students and their excitement in attending the class, this really encouraged me to forget about the hard work. This satisfaction far outweighed the fatigue and difficulties of the activities. It was such a gratifying experience that the students enjoyed these classes since they can learn a new language – English. This satisfaction encouraged me to do more volunteer work for less privileged children.

Finally, the students had time to present what they learned in front of others, and all the teachers including BSB students evaluated who were the best students. In order to get prizes, children competed against each other and did their best. As a result, students were more involved in working on the class material and we were able to teach them more effectively. In order to make children more interested in our classes, we needed more prizes.

20140927_100201Thus, we decided to initiate a new plan in the form of charity. This would help us collect more money and buy more prizes for the children. So, at the BSB Christmas Fayre in November 2014, we sold cups and pictures and raised funds for the Migrant English School.

This valuable experience came with many lessons. We learned the value of helping children and we were able to understand more about our own weaknesses. My fellow supervisors and I found out that we lacked the skills of speaking Chinese and keeping the children organized. Since we knew we had some difficulties dealing with children, we discussed what we are going to prepare for the lesson plan next time on the way to school by bus. We thought of ideas such as bringing more candies and memorizing some basic Chinese words in order to make them listen to what we are saying.

Most people think that charity is just giving money to poor people. However, charity work should not be only giving money, but also teaching skills to improve their lives on their own. As an IB CAS student and completing the service component, I have learnt how to conduct effective services within the Chinese community and I hope that I can contribute to future programs. For this reason, my experience at the Migrant English School was more rewarding. Compared to a simple monetary donation, teaching English to students helps them play a better role in society as a citizen in the future, which opens the door to a brighter future. I really encourage everyone to be more involved in doing charity work so that we can help the less privileged in more ways.

Visiting the Migrant English School was a valuable and unforgettable experience for us.We plan to go back soon. Next time when we are going to teach children, we will ask the help of our fellow Chinese classmates to come to the Migrant English School with us, so we can give an even better quality of education to the Migrant School students.



By Jinhan Chun, 


Year 12, the British School of Beijing



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