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Experiential education in Language Acquisition at Northbridge: When students become teachers

Logan Brennan-Sawyer
Logan Brennan-Sawyer (1 post) EAL Coordinator, MYP English Language Acquisition Teacher View Profile

Northbridge International School Cambodia students in Grade 9 English Language Acquisition recently had the opportunity to put their learning into practice during their Mission in Action service trip by becoming English teachers at the SOS Children's Villages International School Battambang.

Northbridge students

This semester Grade 9 English Language Acquisition students have been working on a unit about education. The unit began with a discussion of what education is, what it means to be educated, and the roles and responsibilities of students, teachers, parents, administrators, and the government.

Northbridge students

After an brief introduction to pedagogy and lesson planning the students were given the task of preparing English lessons for their upcoming visit to the SOS Children's Villages International School Battambang.

By becoming teachers, the students had to discuss the learning objectives for their lesson, how to differentiate the tasks and materials for students of varying levels and abilities, and create a detailed written lesson plan in addition to all the materials they would be using.

Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results
John Dewey

This challenging experienced pushed students, who are themselves studying English, to become risk-takers through collaboration. The groups were forced to adapt and change their lesson plans to best fit the situation.

After returning to school the students took time to reflect on the experience. These reflections, an important part of the experiential learning cycle, allowed them to look back on their experiences so as to understand and incorporate them for future learning. Below are some of their reflections:

Cambodian students
  • “I have been a student all my life and have never gotten the chance to actually teach a group of students. Being able to teach the students as a real teacher feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and it will be an experience that I will always treasure. Being able to meet and interact with new people really pushes me to step out of my comfort zone.”

  • “I was able to appreciate my teacher more through the teaching experience, because things don’t always go as planned and you always have to improvise because the students have different levels.

  • “I have learned and developed a new concept of teaching which is really complex and I have also developed in speaking with confidence.”

  • “Teaching younger students has made me realize  how far I have come in my learning journey since I once used to be just like the kids in the SOS Children’s Village when I didn’t exactly know how to speak English very well.”

Northbridge student
  • “I was able to appreciate my teacher more through the teaching experience, because things don’t always go as planned and you always have to improvise because the students have different levels.

  • “I have learned and developed a new concept of teaching which is really complex and I have also developed in speaking with confidence.”

  • “Teaching younger students has made me realize  how far I have come in my learning journey since I once used to be just like the kids in the SOS Children’s Village when I didn’t exactly know how to speak English very well.”

Northbridge students

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