Improving the English Classroom
by PEPY Teacher Trainer, Kyla Solinger
Intensive teacher training for PEPY’s English teachers has been underway for a month, and we have been making changes large and small, ranging from color coordinated classrooms to the beginning of “PEPY Points,” aimed to motivate students and encourage attendance and participation.
Gone are the days of sitting in rows. The tables are now arranged to seat four students and are categorized by color. Myself, and the teachers are hoping that this new seating plan will encourage teamwork and responsible behavior in the classroom. We’ve seen positive improvements already as the Pink table in Sarakk’s level 0 class is taking their role as mini board monitor extremely seriously!
As well as classroom management techniques, we’ve also been focusing on reinforcing positive behavior. The teachers have implemented many new strategies to promote student’s academic improvement and appropriate classroom actions. Each table has been given a corresponding color patch in which points are scored and they can earn esteem for their table by simple tasks, such as everyone completing their homework or working together to minimize errors. This has been a great exercise in increasing teamwork but we also wanted students to take responsibility for themselves—leading us to the introduction of PEPY points!
The idea behind the PEPY points promotion is that students are rewarded every time they give a well thought out answer, improve their test scores or display helpful and kind behavior. When a student has 20 points they can cash them in and receive a small prize! This technique is designed to reward every student without excluding children who are not able to achieve academic excellence. Sarakk was elated this week as 90% of his Level 1 class improved in their weekly spelling tests, therefore earning two more PEPY points towards their goal. These small colorful tokens, bearing the PEPY logo, are the talk of the town as the kids count and compare before they enter the classroom. We’re all wondering who will be the first to get twenty! They have caused such a stir that the PEPY team is demanding them for the office as well!
Next up… similar child-friendly improvements in our Khmer literacy, and computer classrooms!