“Empowerment Through Education” — Friends of Himalayan Children

Ekkehart and Marion Mundana: Teaching and teacher training in Batase Village

FHC Report from February 2016

Ekkehart and I spent 3 months in Nepal, from October 2015 – January 2016.

Our Intention was to conduct a teacher training course in Batase Village, and then rerun this course in the Pokura area through Logged on foundation. Our time in both Batase Village and Nepal in general was challenging and rich. We worked with FHC Nepal, and offering as much support and training as we could in areas such as English language, management and organisation and bookkeeping. We also spent time developing relationships with other grassroots organisations and NGO’s, which in itself was interesting and holds possible future benefits for the Friends of the Himalayan Children. I will concentrate this report however on our time in Batase Village and the music program run by Ekkehart, and grade 9 English program and the teacher training program.

Firsty the music program: it was not our focus to be in the classroom all the time during this visit to Batase. However, Eckerhart ran some music classes for the younger children and a regular singing class with the grade 6, 7, 8 and 9’s. Ekkerhart had interviewed the children from the hostel and found out what they loved about Batase Village and their life in Batase. He created a song from the words of the children. Mindful of the pentatonic scale that is native to Nepalese music, he created a song that could be sung as a school song. The children love this song and he presented it as a gift on the last day. You will have all seen video footage of the children singing this song which has now become the school anthem.

Secondly the grade 9 English program: We adapted the ‘Cutting Edge’ English language program, which is a highly reputed English language program taught in language schools all over the world. This proved to be an interesting experience for students and teachers alike. While some of the material was challenging in terms of general knowledge, it actually offered fertile ground for learning about the world beyond Batase Village. Students responded well to this English language program and I foresee that this could be a way forward for extra-curricular English language teaching. With the Nepalese curriculum, like all curriculums, being demanding of students and teachers time, it would be better to conduct this course outside school hours as an extension to those who want it.

Thirdly the teacher training program: Ekkehart and I devised this program ourselves, based on a blend of explicit instruction and teaching methodologies that have worked in the classroom over our years of experience. We focused on four main areas: teaching strategies, organisation, activities and feedback. We conducted a series of classes to teach the teachers these aspects of education. It was a challenging task to create a course that was delivered in English and yet deliver higher order thinking and education strategies. Although only 10 lessons, it actually took us nearly 7 weeks of work to create classes that would function in an ESL environment! We kept each class as hands-on as possible, so that teachers first of all experienced these strategies and techniques for themselves and then had a go at putting them into practice. We ran a series of 10 classes, culminating in a Saturday morning session that ran for 3 to 4 hours. We included in this final session the outlining of a whole school behaviour management strategy. I believe that this has been further developed by teaching volunteers who are in the village at this time.

This course was really an introductory course for teachers. We appreciate that to really develop teacher capacities there needs to be ongoing training and mentoring as teachers put into practice what they learn in the classroom with teacher trainer feedback. The feedback from teachers was very positive, and most teachers expressed a desire and confidence in being able to apply some of the techniques they were shown.

We repeated this training course in a village called Dhital, which is one hour from Pokura. It was a great experience for us as trainers to repeat the course so soon, and compare its success with the course run in Batase Village. The course itself stood the test of being repeated and had a similar reception in Dhital. One thing we noted was that the teachers in Batase Village were very serious and appreciative of the opportunity to receive this training. Teachers expressed a desire for further training and Ekkehart and I were very encouraged by the feedback. On discussion and reflection with a number of people, we will revise certain parts of the course and continue to develop the next phase. It is important that we build capacity of teachers in Nepal. It is also important that we empower future Nepalese teacher trainers who can in turn train and mentor teachers in Nepal. In our development of the course we will take this into consideration.

We like to express our gratitude towards the loving people of Batase Village who embraced us so caringly, and to the members of FHC Nepal who looked after us and assisted us every step along the way. Life in Nepal is complex and not easy. There are many twists and turns, changes of plan and challenges that are hard to understand until you are actually on the ground there. Our time in Batase has strengthened our resolve to support and build capacity in the people of both FHC Nepal and the teachers who are in our circle of influence. By empowering these key people we can effect real change and generate a sustained difference.

~ Marion and Ekkehart Mundana

(Friday, February 12, 2016)

About FHC

Friends of Himalayan Children Inc. is a registered charity started by Som Tamang in 2010. It funds numerous activities in Nepal, aimed at helping Nepalese orphans empower themselves through education. Current projects include the XXX school and hostel.

Charity Number: 54788547

Contact Us

  • r Phone:
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  • m Address:
    Friends of Himalayan Children Inc.
    PO Box 4587, Cairns, Australia