A New English Curriculum

As you know, all kids at Little Hearts receive daily English lessons right here on our campus, taught by our two stellar teachers and caretakers, Rosahlee and Roxanne. The students are split into levels according to their age and proficiency in English, and the programme runs throughout the school year (either in the morning or the afternoon, depending on the rotation at their day school). Our English programme has been successful over the years, equipping the kids with a solid command of the language. Those of you who have visited our facility and interacted with the kids will remember how talkative they can be, in English as well as Khmer!

Our approach incorporates games, real-life situations, stories, songs, and phrases to teach vocabulary and functional language. The goal is to develop strong language abilities by blending structured learning with captivating activities and exchanges. Each child has unique abilities and interests, and our goal is to cater to these by establishing a diverse and stimulating language-learning routine.

Some LH kids in Primary Level

But no educational programme can ever stand still. Driven by our dedication to continuous improvement, we frequently review our teaching methods and the kids’ progress to determine whether changes are required. In particular, we noticed that many students struggled with pronunciation, oral comprehension and with contextually appropriate word usage, that is, using vocabulary that is suitable for the given topic of conversation.

Tony was keen to reinvigorate the English language programme to address these specific challenges, so he dispatched our head teacher, Rosahlee, to a training session entitled ‘Experiential Learning in a Communicative Classroom,’ hosted by a specialist company in Phnom Penh, DTP Education Solutions. Rosahlee returned full of great new ideas and enthusiastically introduced a new English curriculum recommended by DTP.

Some LH kids in Secondary Level

Prior to choosing the right course materials, the teachers conducted placement tests. Based on the test results and the kids’ ages, we categorized them into two groups: Primary (ages 10-14) and Secondary (ages 15 and above). Primary students are now using the i-Learn Smart Start 4 book, focusing on vocabulary and incorporating elements from both typical elementary curricula and the Cambridge Young Learner’s syllabus.

Secondary students have adopted the Personal Best series, designed to cater to individual learning speeds and strengths. The course emphasizes practice, ensuring students can effectively use the language they learn. They can focus on language application because the course teaches grammar separately from other skills. The pronunciation syllabus enhances recognition and production of language, while reading and listening activities develop learning skills and strategies.

The eagerness for these new programs is palpable – the kids have taken up their new curricula with great industriousness. The goal is for all students to reach at least A2 level within a few months of starting, and then move up from there. Happy learning, kids!

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