My week as I mentioned yesterday was spent in Kampung Jantan with the Salako tribe. The reason for the trip was a volunteer outreach project to teach the kids English. This is their end of the year holiday and the aim is to give them confidence, and to inspire them to learn in a fun way. When we got there we discovered that they had no English teacher at school for the last 6 months.
We were 3 volunteers from different backgrounds. Indy is a counseler, Mika is a song writer and me, the artist. We pulled our skills together in order to interact with the kids in a fun way.
We arrived at the make shift school, which is the local co-op at 8am but all the kids were already there. School officially starts at 9am and ends at 4pm. They were so eager to be there that they all arrived early. In the end, we had to add an extra hour to our day.
On the first day, they had worksheets to fill in. A very basic one. Name, age, favourite colour, favourite food, best friend’s name and favourite activity. It was more for us to get to know them. We also got them to write their names on badges so that we could remember. I am terrible with names so this was a great idea.
The typical morning started with exercise, followed by a new song a day. We started them with Hokey Pokey on day one, then day two was if you are happy and you know it clap your hands and on day three, we taught them the way I am. On Day 4, we got them to learn a song of their choice.
We discovered that the kids loved arts and crafts so we created a lot of activities based around this. One of the projects we did involved making little pockets. Every child made one with their names written on them. They were encouraged to make notes of encouragement to each other and leave them in the pockets. We put sweets and treats in them. Below are notes I received.
One Day 3 we got them to make tie dye tshirts. We showed them how to tie the patterns with rubber bands and encouraged them to make their own designs. Everyone was beautiful and unique. They were also encouraged to draw on them.
Another activity we did was the DIY banner. I drew the outline of the letters and gave each student to colour. Then they were asked to make words with the letters that they received. We played a game with this. They were split into groups and the group that came up with the most words that started with the letters were the winners. Some of the words they came up with were really endearing. A is for astronaut. A is for Asteroid.
After the game, they were put into groups to make up the words for the banner. I wrote the words on the whiteboard and got them to arrange their letters on the plastic sheet. It’s pretty incredible how they worked as a team.
Some of the kids refused to speak. One of the ways I got them to open up was by getting them to ask for art supplies in English. I wrote the words on the front for them to learn and they had to come to me and ask if they wanted something.
Most of the kids didn’t have confidence speaking in English. Another way we got them to speak was to ask them to write it down first on paper and then after we got them to read it out to us.
Below is another get to know the kids activity. We asked them to answer 4 questions:
2. What do you want to be when you grow up?
3/4 What does your dad/mum do?
The majority of the kids wanted to join the police force or be teachers. A handful had bigger ambitions. There was a lawyer, a scientist, a Chef/fashion designer and 2 pilots. Most of their fathers were farmers, construction workers and security guards. Their mothers were either farmers or housewives.
We taught them how to play “I spy with my little eye” to brush up on vocab. First we started them individually then we split them into 2 groups so that they could compete and earn points. We would award an extra half point if they could spell the word in English and deduct half a point everytime they spoke in Salako. The photo above is me deducting points…..
We had 32/33 kids aged between 6 and 12. The general level of English was pretty basic. English is their 3rd Language. First is Salako, second is Malay, and finally it is English.