WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
The majority of primary school age children and 36% of secondary school age children attend school. However, schools are severely under funded and there is an unequal distribution of educational resources across the country. Poor and rural communities can only attend seriously disadvantaged public schools.
The vast majority of the population speaks only Malagasy and there is a lack of foreign language teachers. Your help can give children and adults a sense of confidence, encourage their enthusiasm and ambition and even improve their opportunities for the future. To teach, you will need to be patient, flexible and a confident communicator and able to use your initiative and imagination. It would be helpful to have beginner's level French, although not essential as you will have plenty of opportunities to learn! Lessons will be fun and interactive, developing the children's confidence and conversational skills. Over summer when there are school holidays you will continue to teach lessons in town, giving classes in the local villages near to our camp and adult education in Hellville. The local communities are extremely grateful for the support given by the adult education classes, which is another rewarding aspect of this varied project.
We teach the majority of our lessons in Hellville at a primary school based in the centre of town. Encompassing over 1500 children over 20 classes, this is not for the faint hearted. Class sizes average at around 70 students who are all eager to learn. Ages range from 6 to 11 and they are as fascinated by you as you will undoubtedly be by them, so bring a big heart and bucket loads of enthusiasm and you will get on just fine! Our lessons range from in class formal lessons to one on one education lessons to improve the knowledge of individual children struggling with the material. We also offer small group workshops to educate the children further in English and reinforce the information which we are giving. Improvements in the children’s knowledge in a short period can be immense and you will be as rewarded as you will be challenged by taking part in our programme. A regular session of lesson planning for the following day’s work along with a requirement for you to report on the children’s progress in your class ensures that we are able to offer a professional and dedicated programme, with the value of your contribution reflected in the reference which we will be able to give you at the end of your project.
Adult education classes are also offered by our group at the local youth community centre in town, which (despite the name) is targeted at all ages and backgrounds. This is great fun and thoroughly rewarding, as knowledge levels vary hugely and we engage primarily in spoken English tuition rather than anything more worksheet focused. Many games are played and smiles are a plenty – brilliant entertainment and immeasurably rewarding.
We also occasionally teach at the local village school close to the base camp where our marine and forest programmes are located. This is a very different experience and offers a new and exciting challenge for the buccaneering volunteer to engage with the children with more limited resources at their disposal and an alternative approach required. However, this is fantastic fun and a very valuable part of our work.
Students will be interested in life where you come from and, if you are interested and have the relevant skills, you may be able to get involved teaching other activities, such as sports, music or science. There will also be the possibility of working with our field conservation programme to arrange collaborations in environmental education.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Your work schedule will cover a comprehensive, varied and enjoyable teaching programme which will engage you fully with your pupils and will awaken your creativity and initiative. You may be helping a local teacher at the school as well as being required to take control of your own lessons, which will encourage you to formulate ideas and develop your teaching skills and techniques. You may be involved with activities such as marking pupil's work and producing an inspiring teaching strategy, including preparing homework and assembling innovative and effective lesson plans.
As well as this, you will have the opportunity to help with lots of extracurricular activities which will vary extensively depending on your personal skills and interests, whether it is helping organise a school show or playing football with the super competitive and highly skilled local kids. You may even get the chance to join the Frontier marine or forest camps for their regular Friday night themed parties, depending on the requirements of the overall work programme. The teaching programme is demanding but thoroughly rewarding and is excellent preparation for anyone looking at a career in teaching or who is just keen to get exposure to this worthwhile field of work.
Whatever you decide, you are sure to gain huge satisfaction from inspiring these communities, whilst significantly enhancing your own skills and experience.