“The teacher speaks English too fast” was one of the comments received as part of feedback recently conducted at the Chanleas Dai Secondary School for PEPY’s English classes. Seng Chim and Satra Phan collected feedback from the students in order to figure out what was working, what was not and how to ensure the students learning was as effective as possible.
PEPY’s mission is to empower the youth of Cambodia. One of our strategies to achieve this is to allow young people to have a voice in their own development. Through the feedback forms our team realized that the students enjoy PEPY’s English classes because there are proper classroom rules, the teachers are always punctual, and they make learning English exciting because the lessons involve many fun activities.
“The teacher is too strict” was one of the major reasons the Grade 7 students put down for not enjoying the class. However, the Grade 9 students thought the teacher was not strict enough. Some other reasons for dissatisfaction with the English class was the teacher speaking only in English, not translating to Khmer and asking queries constantly only to students who raised their hands. Learning new vocabulary was the biggest challenge the Grade 7 students children faced in the class whereas the Grade 9 students enjoyed learning new vocabulary.
When asked “How effective was the PEPY class in helping them with their government classes”, most of the students commented that their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills had greatly improved and they had a lot more confidence when clarifying doubts with the government teachers.
“We need more fun activities in class, the teacher needs to translate more words to Khmer and speak more slowly and clearly in the class” were the most common responses to the question “How can we improve the English class”? It was interesting to note that – the students enjoyed learning nursery rhymes in primary school so much so they wanted to keep learning fun English songs in secondary school as well. There were also a number of students who felt they would benefit greatly from field trips to Siem Reap.
Our team used this opportunity to learn from the students. The information received will help Seng and Satra design a more interactive and fun lesson plans. Since some of the material used in the class is from the international community they have realized the students have a hard time relating to it. Our team is now looking into having more material on Cambodia in their lesson plans.
Seng says it’s important to have feedback from the students because “We know what the students would like to learn and it helps us to know where we went wrong and thereby learn from our mistakes. It also enables our staff to be more careful in their work and it becomes easy to encourage them to improve their performance.”