musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

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During my trip to Myanmar last month I visited Shan State’s Tat Ein village as usual and this time, with school back in session, I taught some English classes at the primary school.

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Today, I’ll present photos from the morning class that I taught, a group of fourth graders. The students comprised two girls from the village, three boys, and seven novice monks. They were a well-behaved group and I led them through my usual battery of easy lessons. We started off with introductions in English — Hello, my name is Aung Thaung. What is your name? Nice to meet you! —- culminating in a handshake, which always cracks up the kids. Seriously, if you want to get a child to start giggling, ask them to shake hands with another student.

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Other popular activities included the animal mime game, and the “Where is my watch” activity, which helps both with telling time and asking questions (“Do you have my watch?”). These were tried and tested activities and always popular with the young students, but with only 12 students in the class I had to stretch some things out so that there wouldn’t be any dead time.

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The biggest challenge was trying to speak loudly enough so that the students could understand the lesson. Grades 1-4 are all held in the same small building, separated only by thin partitions, so the noise is often overwhelming. But I tried to refrain from shouting and managed, I think, to make myself understood, whether I was speaking in English or Burmese.

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I’ll post photos of the larger — and much wilder — fifth grade class later in the week, but for now enjoy the smiling faces of these fourth graders!

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