How are teachers utilizing new skills to teach better?

Pouy loves being a teacher. He has been teaching for 33 years. In 1993, he moved to teach in Hua-sa-king village in the northern part of Laos.

“Even if my health was not really good, my heart is full of love for teaching students. I have been teaching in PakOu district for more than 10 years and then I moved to this village because my home is here and my family living here,” said Pouy, 50.

His students are excited to come to school and are interested in their studies.

“I am happy with my studies and I don’t want to be absent from school because I have many friends in our group,” says Thutsouphany, a10-year-old student in Grade 5.

A few years ago, the teachers in this school didn’t have good teaching abilities. They would teach in an old-fashioned way, with focus only on the teacher and not the students. Students would just sit and listen to the teacher. The teachers wouldn’t mix activities in their teaching methods to get students to participate in the lessons.

“The students didn’t want to study,” said Pouy. “They did not see the importance of education. The students were not studying very well. The teachers lacked good teaching skills and we did not have enough teachers as well.”

This negatively impacted the students.

“I did not understand the lessons that the teachers taught us because teachers let us study by reading by ourselves. Many times I could not understand it.  It made me bored and not want to study,” said Thutsouphany, a student in the school.

Pouy added that some of the students didn’t want to study was because of their parents’ work on the farms.

“Some of families who have struggles with food and income will not fully support their children to go to school,” he said. “They want their children helping to work on the farm because they do not see the value of education as important to their children’s future. The school buildings were also old, with bamboo walls and a cogon grass roof. And children were not interested in going to school because studies were only in the morning and they were off of classes in the afternoon.”

In 2011, World Vision implemented an education program to help teachers and students find a way to develop the teaching and learning skills in Pakseng District

As a part of the program, World Vision provided training for the teachers on better instruction techniques to improve the quality of education.

World Vision also had awareness campaigns for students’ parents to make sure the parents understood and knew the value of education and how important their children’s education is.

“A few years ago, when we used our own method of teaching, the students didn’t always enjoy studying. They did not understand the importance of education. And if we, compared the past to now, students have a better chance to learn and gain more confidence,” Pouy shared.

Parents are now more understanding and see the importance of education, especially for their children’s future. Many parents and families encourage their children to go to school and support them in their studies.

World Vision also provided school sports materials, like footballs and sports uniforms, as well as school furniture. The school received school garden materials and a water pump for watering vegetables in the student’s school garden. 

The organization started a children’s club to create a space for children to know their rights, share their ideas and learn life skills relating to safe migration and to protect themselves from human trafficking.

“I love studying in groups because I do not feel alone when I do not understand the lesson,” Thutsouphany said. “Before I was very shy when I studied in the class or when the teacher asked me a question. But now I feel more confident to study.”

“My happy time is playing with my friends at school,” she added with a smile. “And I dream to get regular salary so that, I can help myself and family.”

Buaon, 10, a friend of Thutsouphany said, “I love the children’s club activities because it helps me to be confident and show my talent.”

Pouy is proud of the changes in his school.

“On behalf of the teachers and students in this school I would like to thank World Vision and the government who support us with better teaching and learning skills, especially to improve students’ education and health care by playing sports. This activity made our students healthy,” Pouy said.

“I am happy to be a teacher and I want to see all the students complete their studies, get a good job and be able to take care of themselves in the future. Or at least, be able to read to write and completed primary school,” he added.