AEA VN (Lai Chau): Extra curricular activities using CCM
We came to Ta Leng primary school on a cold day. Tam Duong District mountain breeze blowing. We were worried about the school attendance of the children during the harsh weather in winter. As soon as we arrived at the school gate, we heard the loud and high sounds of the kids playing “Matchmaking”, one of the games of active teaching methods – or CCM. When entering the school, Ms. Lam, the team’s general teacher, was instructing the children to play “Matchmaking” game, to divide children in to smaller groups to discuss the story “I do not want to marry”. “I do not want to marry” is a story in the topic “Gender equality” of the bilingual material series. The story was abouta girl getting married at the age as early as 15. When her father understood the lack of access to basic education is the worst form of child right violation and it happened to his first daughter, he changed and invested in education for his second daughter, and she had positive school performance. Divided into smaller groups, children actively discussed and responded to questions to analyze the story and got the message of not getting married before the age of 18 so that all children could go to school and have a happy life in the future.
“I like the methods that teachers use in extracurricular activities with us. We are involved in a variety of activities, games, group discussions, role play … to better understand bilingual stories”, said Cu A Sinh, a 3rd grade student in Ta Leng primary school. In 2016, Aide et Action developed supplementary learning materials in 5 topics gender equality, life skills, disaster preparedness, child rights, local culture and customs in Mong and Vietnamese languages to enable children to learn in their mother tongue language about issues relevant to them.
Image 1: Teacher facilitating Match-making game
Image 2: Children playing “Match-making game”
Image 3: Children reading bilingual materials
Image 4: Children reading bilingual stories in a small group.
Image 5: Children practicing picture drawing technique to draw a content of the story
On the same day, we visited Nung Nang kindergarten and also participated in a storytelling activity for children, facilitated by a preschool teacher. In this session, the teacher invited a father to participate as teacher’s assistant and interpreting from Vietnamese to Mong language so that small children can understand the story clearly. After finishing the poem “Children go to school”, teacher used the brainstorming and questioning techniques with children to help them better understand the message of children’s access to education, and that by age 3, children have the right to go to school. “I am very happy to be involved in the school’s activities and to support teachers. I am directly observing the school’s educational activities for my child and other children, and I feel confident in the quality of the educational activities,” said Vu A Phong, an ethnic Mong father.
Image 6: Father facilitating learning session with preschool children
As CCM comes to effect, children are placed in the center instead of the teacher, and built upon the child’s development and abilities at different ages. Children are encouraged to participate fully in class activities and promote self-learning through a variety of teaching methods such as small group discussion, games, brainstorming, quizzes, painting, role play. and video. Teachers also use variety of teaching techniques to manage activities with children such as question and answer technique, table cloth technique to transform individual work into group work, Know – Want to Know – Learning (KWL) technique. Depending on the story content and development and abilities of children in different classes, teachers will apply CCM methods and techniques in flexible ways to facilitate classes with their children. Parents also play a significant roles in contributing to CCM by providing their interpretation services for children and teachers to ensure better understanding of lessons and improved group interaction between teachers and children.
The project is designed to address two issues: access to bilingual education for ethnic Mong children and improve quality of teaching methods. Overall, formal education opportunities for children in mountainous, remote and isolated areas where ethnic minorities are predominantly located are still limited (UNESCO, 2011). Children from minority groups do not have, or have very limited access to education in their mother tongues. These language barriers coupled with poor quality of teaching and family economic difficulties often mean that ethnic minority children are excluded active learning, which contributes to their poor school performance, school dropout and limited opportunities throughout their lives (UNICEF, 2012). Just 68% of ethnic minority children complete primary school compared to 91% of the ethnic majority Kinh children (ibid)
Teachers in the target area currently lack the skills to provide inclusive and relevant education to all children, regardless of their ethnicity or profile. Furthermore, the survey found that while teachers are fairly sensitive to the needs of the targeted children, the teachers had either received inadequate training on CCM or face difficulties in applying these skills in teaching due to poor access to experts for consultation and on the job coaching. Teacher training in this area is either absent or insufficient.
Before the project was implemented, only 30% of teachers were aware of the basic knowledge about CCM, and less than 10% could apply positive teaching methods and techniques. After project intervention, 100% of the teachers have gained basic and advanced CCM methods and techniques, and 80% of teachers have applied in their lectures. 100% of students were satisfied with the quality of the lessons and the assessment after lessons showed that 100% of the students fully understood the content of the lessons, which promised better school performance of students.