Volunteer teaching English in Cambodia to Buddhist monks inside the pagoda
Teaching English in Cambodia, working in the Bu Tum pagoda, a peaceful complex of Buddhist buildings including a stupa, temple and residential quarters. The orange clad monks are held in high esteem. The project provides a fascinating opportunity to work closely alongside them and become involved in both their mystical and spiritual ways that have remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years.
The monks have approached Outreach International directly through our local contacts because they wish to be taught English by a native English speaker. Many of the older monks have some English and the younger ones may learn some at college in the evening, but all feel their English is generally poor quality and they are keen to improve it.
Teaching English in Cambodia in this project will be a memorable and fantastic challenge. The the monks are extremely courteous, polite, culturally astute and eager to have the English support that volunteers could provide. A volunteer would also have the support of Nimol, our local coordinator who has strong connections with the pagoda.
The lessons would take place in a room more usually used by the monks as a community common room. There is an internet connection, fans, electricity, an old white board and a collection of English language books. You would however need to be proactive and sufficiently imaginative to create your own lessons and your own mini curriculum, based on the level of English of the monks in each group.
Teaching English in Cambodia is a new project and there is every opportunity for individuals to be proactive and create their own curriculum and teaching methods, whether through books, dialogue or activities.
The monks who opt in for these extra lessons are keen to learn English and you would help them with this for four hours a day.
The monks are busy with prayers and temple duties in the morning, and have classes in the evening, so the English lessons would be from 12 noon until 4pm. Volunteers will use the morning to plan the lessons.
The monks will divide themselves into a beginners and a more advanced group each consisting of between 10 and 20 (male) monks. The beginners have limited English but some of the advanced group are of a conversational standard. Monks tend to be more educated than their ley peers and are keen to learn.
Once a week, normally on a Saturday the monks travel to local and rural communities assisting the poor and needy. You would have the opportunity to accompany them on these visits.
By volunteering to teach English to the monks you are most definitely participating in a unique cultural exchange project. They will learn a great deal about you and your perspectives, as you will learn about life as a buddhist monk.
Improving their English will enable the monks to engage more in an increasingly cosmopolitan Phnom Penh and hopefully give them the freedom to share their wisdom with more people.
From beginning to end, my 4 months in Cambodia have been the most inspiring, challenging and incredible of my life., Orphanage Project, Cambodia