Thursday, January 15, 2009

Letter from Irina (Feedback)

Before I start, I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to work for The Dhaka Project. I think it was a great experience and what you do there is an amazing thing. I was extremely impressed with how smart and intelligent some kids are and how much they enjoy learning new things. I also enjoyed a great deal working with the teachers, I hope my work benefited. I definitely plan to come back.

Some general things: I believe that in some places (pre-school, nursery) you have too many employees. Too many people doing the same thing, sometimes they do nothing.

Children do not have breaks between classes; it is impossible for a kid to pay attention to a class which comes after another one, without 5-10 minutes break. Even for me it was difficult to switch immediately from one class to another. This was very obvious especially in the pre-school – by 11 AM children were already tired, were not paying attention anymore and it was hard to keep them quiet. I think this is very important, and a short refresh after one class is a good thing, even for the teachers.

40 minutes for a class is not enough – since classes are big (20-30 students), 40 minutes is not enough to make all of them participate in the class and make sure they understood the new words, etc. Ideally it should be 50 minutes class + 10 minutes break.

Pre-school: the door between rooms is always open and the voices from one class can be heard from another. I think it disturbs to a certain extent the activity. Moreover, the door from the kitchen was always open and when the ladies were preparing the food, the smell and the noise would come in. The door must be closed, as this is a disturbance to the kids.

In one group, children do not study at a table, but stay on a mattress. They need to know how to write at a table, sitting in a chair in the upright position. It is not healthy for their bodies.

I also noticed that they don't have a sense of discipline – they stand up and leave the room anytime they want, without asking permission. They don't know that a class is something where they have to be quiet and pay attention. And if they want to go out, they need to ask the teacher first.

I gave some suggestions to Hosniara as to how to make her classes more entertaining and how to draw children's attention. In the coming days she improved a lot her lessons, telling more stories and using lots of visual examples to make the kids learn the letters and the new words. I think she is very good with the children, she can an asset for the pre-school.

I think that in the pre-school, more discipline is required, teachers must keep the students under control and monitor them all the time. No interference between the class and the kitchen.

In the EK School I participated at one English language class. I think the EK school is the place where major improvements need to me made. You need real teachers who apply teaching methods in their classes. I saw that mistakes are being made in explaining phonetics, pronouncing the words and giving grammar definitions. Major confusions between the parts of a sentence and the parts of speech. Confusions between interrogative pronoun and the adverb. If a teacher gives the wrong information, how can one expect students to speak and write English properly?

I think this should be the major focus for the Dhaka Project – finding real and well prepared teachers and making children understand that discipline is important.

I liked to see the teachers' enthusiasm in their work and kids' curiosity to learn new things.

I think the whole project idea is great and I wish more volunteers would come to help with their knowledge and skills.

What you are doing is amazing, I wish you all the best, keep it up this way! Giving poor children a chance to know the world is wonderful! Keep up the good work.

Kind regards, wishing you all the best,


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