Barefoot Conservation's Education Programme
Hello, Mister! How are you?!!!
That is what came out of a young Papuan boy’s mouth two days after his first English lesson with Barefoot Conservation. Sitting in his father’s boat during a slow ride on a fine Saturday afternoon, the boy waved and shouted the same greeting over and over again to BC staff. If you were his teacher, how would you feel? Happy? Of course. Proud? Most definitely.
One of BC’s community work programs is to run English courses both for children and adults. Taught in a friendly, easy-going environment, we aim to improve the Papuan children's English skills to help their chances of qualifying for higher education. And the adults to communicate better with the tourists they encounter through their local businesses (village shop, homestays, snorkeling tours etc..). Classes are run separately between children and adult and they include writing, listening, reading, and speaking. To make it easy to grasp, examples and exercises are made such that they relate to every-day life in Raja Ampat.
Our staff, Desiree, has performed two children sessions on Alphabets, Numbers 0-10, and Greetings. How many students would you expect to attend the first session? 10? 20 maximum? Exactly her thought but surprise, surprise! Almost 30 students showed up ranging from Year 1 to Year 7. All in one class. Worse, there were only enough notes for 20 students which in the end had to be shared between them (after all sharing is an act of love, isn’t it?). They were shy at first and after a quick Hangman session, Desiree won their hearts. Never in her life has she had students learning with such excitement. After nearly 1.5 hours of teaching, she almost lost her voice so that was the end of Session 1. Judging from how the students responded to the lesson, they appeared to be more excited in English in Maths (no offense to all Maths teachers out there).
Moving on to the second session three days after the first, Desiree did a quick review on the alphabets and numbers with a game. She wrote random letter-number combinations on the blackboard such as AB78, H2LK, etc. She then divided the class into two groups and each team pointed a member to race against the other team member to the blackboard and find the combination Desiree previously spelled. So, there it was. The battle between the Lion and the Dolphin began (of course our beloved, aquatic mammal won!) The game was followed by listening, reading, and speaking exercises. The students were actively involved in all parts of the course. Like the first session, the second went very well and again, Desiree almost lost her voice at the end of the day. No pain, no gain, right?
Having students answering questions so loud and clear all together is an indication they want to learn and it gives us hope that these young students are capable of so much more. We believe if they are given the right educational support e.g. improved facilities and skillful teachers, they will be able to compete with other students from other states in Indonesia.
Well done, kids! See you soon for session 3.
When Barefoot undertook its first surveys of the Yanbuba village community, we surveyed various members of the community across a broad demographic. It soon became apparent from the results, that a good education for the children was a very high priority for the community. So it came as no surprise to us that after English lessons, other school subjects were high up on the priority when we analysed the results.
Not long after our surveys the Kalibia team came to visit Yanbuba village to run a conservation education day. The Kalibia team (who were sponsored by Conservation International) sail around various villages through out Raja Ampat educating the children about conservation and the delicate coral reefs that live on their doorstep.
Barefoot Conservation was invited by the Kalibia team to join them for the day to help out with the programme. It was during some of the fun games that Desiree one of our community staff team asked some of the kids how many of them were left in their team now that 3 had join another team. Desiree was shocked at just how many of the children struggled with this simple question. It became obvious to us that Barefoot would need to expanded its education programme to include Maths as well as English lessons.
After a meeting with the Head of Schools for the region, Barefoot was given permission to run some classes during school time, the first of which was year 6 maths. We were asked by the Head of Schools and the local school teachers in Yanbuba village if we could help out with year 6 maths first, as they will be taking their national exams in May.
Desiree our Community Manager got straight to work burning the midnight oil to produce lesson plans for the year 6 classes. Fractions were her first port of call, as this was the current level the year 6 children should have been at from looking at the school syllabus. Desiree soon found herself going back over multiplication and division with the children as they struggled with these parts to solve the fraction equations she had set them on the board.
Desiree now knew she had her work cut out for her, but we had made a start and we had started to make a difference, and although we all knew it was a long road ahead, we were all pleased to be making a difference to these children's education.
When you join a Barefoot Conservation expedition you will help out with this rewarding education programme, your expedition fee goes towards helping these children get a better education and providing new school materials!
Test out your old fraction knowledge and see if you could solve the equation in the picture below (no calculators allowed as the Yanbuba school kids dont have them!): -
Answer is below, no cheating now.....
Well done to all of you that got it correct! Ans= 4.5