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Sue Slater – Letters from Battambang: January 2013 Workshop

on August 17th, 2018 at 9:31:51 PM

Dear Friends 

Thank you for your ongoing support for the work of Teachers Across Borders (TAB). This January, TAB, Australia conducted twelve workshops for 270 teachers and school directors in the provincial city of Battambang. There were twenty two presenters and four assistant presenters all of whom came from Australia.
The exciting development of this year’s program was that teachers and school directors came from rural districts in the Province of Battambang and not just from Battambang City and the surrounding city area. One hundred participants were bussed into Battambang each day from Moung Roussey and Ratanak Mondul districts. As well the Soroptimists International funded four teachers from Sampov Loun district (one of the poorest parts of Cambodia) to attend the workshops. 
A little about  my work......In the Directors Leadership program it was very inspiring to be able to take the  thirty directors from Moung Roussey, Ratanak Mondul and Sampov Loun  districts to visit some of the Battambang City  director’s schools and have the director’s  present their school improvement ideas which they had developed at previous TAB Leadership programs. This truly embodies the notion of “teachers teaching teachers” and colleagues learning from each other in an authentic context.
We saw schools where directors had developed a range of initiatives including:
  • life skills programs, cookery classes, stranger danger classes
  • the development of  a Bio Diversity Park and school garden
  • strengthening community participation by working with the village chief
  • a range of ways to improve school  safety and security 
  • child friendly classrooms with engaging displays 
  • developing classroom goals for every class
  • enhancing student leadership across the school
  • tracking student attendance and achievement and reporting to parents

Sue's Directors Photo

Directors from Moung Roussey, Ratanak Mondul and Sampov Loun in the 2013 Leadership Program
After seven years of TAB workshops in Battambang it seems as though we are having a real impact, particularly in the area of building strong collegial relationships with our Cambodian colleagues and building capacity across the system as is particularly evidenced in the Train the Trainer program where the Cambodian teachers are trained and empowered to take on an important role in the workshop delivery. The Australian presenters “raved” about the enthusiasm and commitment of the Cambodian trainers. These Cambodian trainers have committed to returning to their schools and sharing their learning by running school based teaching and learning workshops.
One of the highlights of the Battambang Train the Trainer program was that all trainers prepared a Learning Portfolio which documented their learning as trainers and it will be an important visual resource to show those at the school site how reflective learning can be documented and what an interactive workshop looks like. Jo and I were thrilled with the way the Train the Trainer program has developed in the third year of this training.
Each afternoon Bronwyn and I worked with four colleagues from Santepheap Primary School in the Sampov Loun district. This is a remote rural school on the Thai border and the staff members were funded by Soroptimists International to attend the TAB workshop. We developed a detailed plan with teacher trainers Sary and Kosom to deliver workshops to staff at the school over the course of 2013. Part of the plan focussed on the action the director would need to take to support the professional development at the school. This is the second year that Bronwyn and I have worked intensively with the staff from Santepheap Primary School and we were delighted to hear from Soroptimists who visited the school in April , this year, that the training has been instrumental in building capacity, self esteem and motivation at the school.
It seems that the work of TAB has a “ripple effect” as more links are made across organisations in supporting the work in Cambodia. Mr Sok Samnang, TAB liaison person in Cambodia has been sponsored by Rotary to spend nine weeks in Australia from April to June and it was a great pleasure to take him to visit a number of Victorian schools and to meet principals and staff to exchange ideas. He was inspired with what he saw and stated he could see how many of the whole school process related to teaching and learning were transferrable and he noted the crucial role of the principal as a role model who leads change and improvement.
Thank you once again to everyone in the wonderful TAB team who continue to work with our Cambodian colleagues with unbounded enthusiasm and passion.
Sue Slater May, 2013