What a year it has been for our class of 2014! As the new BCF teachers get ready for their departure in January, our class of 2014 teachers reflect on their year spent in Bhutan. Some teachers are continuing on with BCF for their second, third, and even fourth year, while others have left Bhutan to travel other parts of the world before returning home.
To all the teachers who have given so much to Bhutan this past year, we thank you and wish you the best in all your future endeavours!
With our newly constructed greenhouse, Gongthung Middle Secondary School will be able to participate for the first time in Bhutan’s Agricultural and Food Sufficiency Program. Students will be able to learn first-hand a variety of alternative cultivation and harvest methods, with the hopes that they’ll share such knowledge with their families beyond the school gates. In addition to this, and thanks to the overwhelming support our project has garnered, our bonus funds will go toward excursions to regional agricultural research centres, during which students will not only learn about operating a greenhouse but the evolving career options that exist in the rapidly changing agricultural sector, as well. – Warren Tanner
A few weeks ago we posted about BCF teacher Matt Stretton’s Junior Guiding Program that was featured in Kuensel Online. Since then, Matt has written a short post about some of the in-class activities he used to prepare students for the Program he ran in Bhutan. Included are some photo’s from the day, so take a look at Chamgang Community Guiding Program!
First of all we brainstormed and discussed what kinds of activities we could offer to our guests as part of a visit, then settled on three of the most interesting and achievable: a visit to a traditional rammed-mud house, a visit to the local goempa and a guided walk in the forest. Next, students engaged in a range of language and talk rich activities designed to equip them with the verbal skills and content knowledge necessary to guide guests during these three activities.
These activities included using flow charts to complete information sheets about Chamgang’ trees and houses, cloze activities to improve reading skills and content knowledge, essay reading, summarizing and note-taking to improve content knowledge and organisational skills, the learning of necessary vocabulary words, spelling practice and of course lots of role plays in which students either played the role of the guide or the guest.
This week our photos come from BCF teachers Kezia and Ashley! Final exams are coming up for students in Bhutan, and our teachers have been reflecting back on the past year spent educating their students. A few teachers will be returning for a second or third year, but some will be savouring their last few weeks with the people they have made lasting connections with, in the country that each has come to know and love.
Nobody does picnics like the Bhutanese! As the school year is coming to an end, schools across Bhutan organize picnics with staff and students. BCF teacher Sarah shares some photos from Tshangkha Lower Secondary School’s fun filled day!
Choose a location + chop down trees for firewood + prepare advanced picnic team + chop veggies + make 5 different curries together as a school + hook up a water system to your semi-remote picnic spot + sing + play games = annual school picnic. One big team effort! – Sarah Diamond
BCF teacher Matthew Stretton is currently teaching English at Yangchen Gatshel Lower Secondary School in Thimphu. Matt has been developing a Junior Guiding Program at his school to provide tourists with the opportunity to experience a glimpse into the traditions and culture in Bhutan, guided by the students! The idea for the program arose out of the many excellent experiences he and his wife Lucy had when visiting their students’ homes, or being guided by them through the local forests.
Among the tourists was the executive director of the Bhutan Canadian Foundation, Nancy Strickland, who suggested the students write down their experiences and also about the community.
“The program is a win-win situation, as the students improve their spoken English and the tourists get to learn about the community first hand,” she said.
Matt conducted the same program with a group of 20 tourists from Australia a week ago with class VII A students. “It was a success,” Matt said.
For those not familiar with Bhutan or Chamgang, it is a unique opportunity to see a slice of life that they wouldn’t otherwise get to see and a good chance to contribute to the education of the students here, he said.
Earlier this year we posted an update on a BCF teacher Warren Tanner’s school development project. Warren developed a plan to construct Gongthung Middle Secondary School and the greater community a Greenhouse to provide fresh vegetables year-round. In collaboration with the EuroCan Foundation and private backers, Warren and friends were able to construct a beautiful greenhouse that along with providing local veggies, will serve as an interactive classroom in which alternative cultivation and harvest methods can be taught!
It’s been a long time coming, but we’re proud to say it’s finally complete! A mountain of gratitude for all the overwhelming support and love leading up to this beauty of a final-product. Thanks to you, we’ll be able to enrich the diets of an entire school community with fresh, local, year-round veggies. “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Anatole France – Warren Tanner
“Tshechu” is the annual event of the year in every district and though it is billed as a religious festival it is much more than that, as evidenced by Vicky’s experience and her colourful pictures from her latest blog post!
Unfortunately in June 2012 the Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag Dzong was burnt to the ground in a fire. As plans are underway to re-build, the Tencholing Army ground is where the Tschechu was held this year.
“The SEN Conference gives the opportunity for the schools serving students with special needs to network, discuss, collaborate and learn. This was a great opportunity for me to connect with others around the country implementing a special education program and for me to observe the information presented in order to follow up with training at Khaling.” – Angela Sutton
Much like the scouting organization we have in Canada, the Bhutan Scouts Association is a youth organization providing value-based educational programs to youth in Bhutan. The BSA caters to the needs of young people through numerous activities that focus on helping them to develop personal values to pursue excellence and a positive attitude towards life!
BCF teacher Angela Sutton, who is teaching Special Education at Khaling LSS in Trashigang, was present for the initiation of the scouts this past Saturday!