We took a small break before hiking upp the last “hill” to the Monastery. We were barely sitting 2 meters away from this beauty. It was slightly chilly this morning and the fog was dressing the tips of the mountains as a heavy blanket.
Thoughts rush through my head and I think about an e-mail I received from IFRE’s manager. He wrote me that it is not important to have a curriculum or education plan of any kind. The most important thing is that the children get to spend time with “high level English speakers”. You see, he has 5 years experience from working in China and that is how it works there. I wonder how exposed those children are to other things that have to do with the English language. I also reflect upon that IFRE has no requirements for volunteers and their skills in English. In fact, there is not even a placement test. Further, he tells me in his e-mail that it isincorrect that they have temporary volunteers as they do not allow for short-term volunteers.
I find myself disagreeing with his entire message. To be fair, I do consent to that English (or any language for that matter) will be best learnt in an environment where active interaction occurs. However, I disagree that there will be agood foundation for such learning without consistency or a plan. After some contempation I replied his e-mail and wrote that it was critical to have an education plan, and for colunteers to follow it somewhat. I asked for support of my proposal to the Board.
Also, I specifically spoke about how perhaps a “selection” should be implemented. For example, there was no light in the classroom upon our arrival; after several discussions and of being a pain in the b*tt, things are slowly occurring. This is not because I have some kind of major impact in this community. Nope. It is because I care. I do not come to the Monastery and teach for 1 or 2 hours and then leave. Do not misunderstand me, I think wonderful people come here and do amazing things. The boys are blessed with so many visitors and volunteers. Nevertheless, sometimes more is needed. More depth. Some extra steps for the kids, for change.
Let us see what IFRE replies.