Joanne Bean - Teacher Trainer in Nepal
6 years teaching primary school pupils.
Joanne spent two months in Nepal using her knowledge of teaching to help with teacher training at a school in Kathmandu. This is what she had to say about the project:
“I was astounded by how welcoming the teachers were and eager to learn new teaching techniques and also improve their own English. They made me feel truly part of the school and continued to take on board all the new ideas we discussed with enthusiasm.”
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Joanne’s project is that she was able to hand over to another skilled volunteer when she left. Click here to read Alison Laycock’s volunteer teacher trainer case study for more information about how she continued Joanne’s impressive work.
The Project Partner
Joanne worked alongside Mr Yagya Ratna Shakya who is the Principal of the Clark Memorial Himalayan Primary School. Joanne had the following to say:
“The Principal was very forward thinking. He already had a vision of where he would like the school to be, which included some of the following; having more creativity in the timetable and lessons; having more extra-curricular activities for the children; making the learning more fun; involving parents more in school life to ensure they fully understand the importance of education. He was a Principal who led by example, he took part in all training sessions and tried out all the new ideas we discussed.”
Role of the Volunteer
Joanne's role at the school included the following:
- Holding sessions with local teachers to help improve their standard of English.
- Sharing ideas about teaching phonics to nursery pupils.
- Creating a school library and adding a session to the pupils’ timetable.
- Discussing ways to make lessons more fun and engaging with limited resources.
- Introducing weekly planning to ensure progression in the children’s learning.
Benefits to the community
One of the fantastic new initiatives that Joanne was able to implement was a ‘Forest Room’. Her explanation of this is as follows:
“The school had been given new resources, lots of educational games, posters, role play equipment. They had a spare carpeted classroom which was not being used very much. We decided together to call this room ‘The Forest Room’ and to have it as a classroom where pupils could take part in independent plan/do/review learning, and learn through play. We also decided that each year group should have a chance each week to use the room.
We discussed separating the children into groups e.g. red group, blue group, yellow group, green group. We then talked about setting up four different educational/fun activities in The Forest room. The children will rotate between the activities, one of the activities may be adult led, but the rest are child led.”
Joanne was very impressed with the ability and enthusiasm of the local staff. They were determined to make the most of her stay and learn as much as possible. Her advice in this area to future volunteers is as follows:
“Immerse yourself fully into school life. If there is an opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities, do it. If there is an opportunity to meet parents, take it - this really enriches your experience. I was lucky enough to take part in two recruitment drives with the school. We went to nearby villages with the teachers and children to promote the school.
As a teacher trainer I don’t think you could hope to be placed in a better school than Clark. I felt privileged to be part of the school and the Principal’s vision for the future.”