PEPY and DPETNS collaboration is enriched as teachers visit from Ireland

Monday, July 2014
by Alida kalejs

PEPY is thrilled to have been working with three teachers from Ireland over the last couple of weeks. Two teachers, Colm and Michéal are from our partner school, Donabate Portrane Educate Together National School (DPETNS). Our third teacher, Cecelia, joins us from Balbriggan Educate Together National School (BETNS). The teachers have been sharing their teaching skills with staff and scholarship students through lessons and workshops. So far, it has been a fun filled two weeks with one week to go. A broad range of topics have been shared, along with new learning experiences. This visit is certainly strengthening the thriving partnership between PEPY and DPETNS and we have some exciting plans being developed for the future.

The teachers come to us with a range of experience and passionate reasons to collaborate with PEPY…

Colm first came to Cambodia last year with a couple of teaching friends. It was during this time, he participated in the PEPY Ride, which he enjoyed greatly and found to be a really  memorable part of his trip. Prior to his arrival in Cambodia, Colm had heard about PEPY and felt that the ethos was similar to that of his school DPETNS in Ireland. After numerous meetings and discussions with PEPY, a partnership was formed.

Colm will be staying on with PEPY for nine months. He is taking sabbatical leave from his position as a primary school teacher in Ireland and will be busy assisting teaching staff with curriculum development, offering English support to staff and scholarship students, youth empowerment and assisting with the communications and fund raising of the organization.

With Colm’s leadership, staff have been learning about positive mental health. Discussing topics of gratitude, random acts of kindness, awareness of emotions and how to acknowledge and manage feelings of anger, jealousy, sadness, etc. Global health issues has also been an interesting topic, along with learning about inequality, morality and the concept of teaching core values.

The students have been exploring the serious side of mental health issues along with a lot of fun role playing in a bid to try and understand why we feel undesirable emotions like anger, jealousy, and disappointment. In addition they looked at strategies to manage conflict resolution.

Michéal is a primary school teacher, specializing in working with students with special needs. He comes with a wealth of experience including a previous role as a school principal for 7 years.

Michéal ran a few workshops to share his knowledge about CV writing with the students. He got them to think about and identify their strengths and their skills and how they would include them in their CV. They discussed different kind of jobs and how to identify what they could apply for based on their own skills set.

He is having a lot of fun getting to know PEPY staff and scholarship students. In between serious lessons about why it is important to have a well written CV, Michéal has been sharing his prowess as an Irish dancer teaching the students the finer techniques of the traditional dance , Walls of Limerick. Lots of laughs and sweat were shared.

Michéal has described his time here in Cambodia as amazing and has really got into the culture and ethos of the Khmer people. The experience has been profound for him and he is enjoying getting to know the people, eating the food and learning the language.

Cecelia comes from BETNS (Balbriggan Educate Together National School) which is a partner school to DPETNS. She is a qualified primary school teacher and has completed her Masters in Equality Studies. She accepted the opportunity to come to Cambodia and be a part of the program for three weeks. Cecelia shares similar values and philosophies to PEPY and was really excited to come along and take part in building the capacity of PEPY staff and scholarship students.

Cecelia has been working with staff sharing her knowledge on communications and ICT. Classes with staff have included; how to keep the students’ attention when teaching along with different techniques and tools that can be used in the presentation of teaching material. She has also introduced Prezi, a type of presentation software, and discussed its applications and uses.

Students are enhancing their understanding about good communication with presentations on how to develop good oral communication, skills and practices. This coming week students will be presenting a topic of their choice to the class.

Cecelia is well traveled but this is her first time to Cambodia. She says the people are very friendly and she feels very safe moving around in Siem Reap and is enjoying the experience.

PEPY staff and students are really appreciative of all that Colm, Michéal and Cecelia are sharing. They are bringing valuable concepts and practical techniques that benefit the whole organisation. New friendships have been made and we are sure that contact will remain strong as the partnership continues to grow.