When we discussed what my mum wanted to visit in Myanmar, I listed the usual tourist sights: Shwedagon, Bagan, Mandalay, and the Golden Rock teetering on a seemingly gravity-defying point. However, my mother wanted to get a feel for the Myanmar that I knew and worked with. So, we went to Yangon and to Sittwe.
A lot of monks teach in Myanmar; they typically have more education than lay people and they are more able to provide for those less fortunate than themselves. As we have mentioned; this is a country which gives the highest percentage of its income to charity. The charity being the thousands of monks (and to a lesser extent, nuns) in the country.
What counts as ‘correct’ English? Is it that of the BBC or Hollywood? Should it be based on usage or grammar rules? This is an area of intense debate in the English teaching world; something which I don’t think will ever be solved.
With the approach of the new year, I reflect on the immense undertaking of NEH over the past 18 months.
Van and I danced. We danced on our last night in the village. We danced at a party given in our honour where students and teachers alike came forth and thanked us for our work with them. We danced in the main hall of the monastery to very loud disco trance music. We danced alone.
Ever since I arrived in Myanmar, I have been all too keenly aware that caning the children is common practice. Brandishing it menacingly is even more normal than using it to strike an unruly child.
Van and I assumed our position at the back of the cold classroom. Each classroom is where the students learn, sleep and socialize. This is evident from the rack of brightly colored fleece blankets suspended above us on a hanging rack and in the corners of the room out of the way for daytime.
During our excursion, Van suggested undertaking the English lesson we had planned, which involved collecting items from the forest to compare using the target language. However, there seemed to be a general feeling of lethargy among the group of teachers and rousing anyone to perform such tasks seemed out of the question.
I have coeliac disease. As long as I am in control of what I cook and eat, however, I can avoid any problems.
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