In the winter, the trees bloom white and yellow flowers. As a kid, I loved fighting, playing football and cane ball, and jumping down from the flower trees with my friends. Everyday, the headmaster punished us by hitting us with a long cane on our palms or backs. Sometimes, we got bruised and injured, but we still never lost our smiles.
Similarly, some of the novices at the Sandakubaka Education Monastery love to move around and are very hyperactive. All of the teachers admitted their students do not listen to them and are easily distracted, as the lessons are not stimulating and exciting.
However, recently our youngest teacher trainee’s lesson attracted all of the students' attention. They played a game where they were given animal names and had to act out the animal in front of class. This was fun and was how they preferred to learn. Sticking animal drawings on the walls, it was like going to the zoo. The students could see, touch and act like the animals.
The other teachers taught the same way as the government teachers. Actually, many teachers are not meticulous in planning their lessons because they don't have enough time to teach; each lesson is 45 minutes and, according to some teachers, they have to finish two or three units a week to follow the government curriculum. This way of teaching doesn't account for whether the students learn well or not. It also drags down both the government teachers, especially those who learned Teaching Methodology for four to five years at university, and monastic schools teachers who do not attend trainings of the same level.
After years of learning in the government schools, most of the teachers have been brainwashed by a system of rote learning. Despite knowing we need to change our education system, we are still clinging to this system and do not know for how long in the future. Nonetheless, one of our trainees, who thought she was good at teaching, now realizes she needs to change her way of teaching. It's time to change and it starts with us.
NEH Local Teacher Trainee
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