Farewell Class of 2014!

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!

Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres - BCF final hurray at Royal Civil Service Commission Conference Hall
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres – BCF final hurray at Royal Civil Service Commission Conference Hall
Photo Credit: Warren Tanner - Spectacular Gongthung
Photo Credit: Warren Tanner – Spectacular Gongthung
Photo Credit: Sarah Diamond - Class 7B!
Photo Credit: Sarah Diamond – Class 7B!

Greenhouse for Gongthung featured in Green Metropolis

Toronto born BCF teacher Warren Tanner talks more in depth about his School Development Project, Gongthung Greenhouse in a post from Green Metropolis, an online community that empowers the people and city of Toronto to live greener.

Photo Credit: Warren Tanner - Construction of Gongthung Greenhouse
Photo Credit: Warren Tanner – Construction of Gongthung Greenhouse

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

Read more at Young Canadian Hero Grants Green House to Gongthung.

Blog of the Week – Chamgang Community Guiding Program

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!

Photo Credit: Matt Stretton - Trees of Chamgang Worksheet
Photo Credit: Matt Stretton – Trees of Chamgang Information Sheet

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.

To read more about Matt’s experience educating and living in Bhutan visit his blog at Bos Grunniens: Adventures In The Land of The Yak.

Photo of the Week – End of the year Class Pictures

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.

Photo Credit: Ashley Lenzen - Nangkhor HSS - "Me and 35 of the reasons I'm staying in Bhutan next year..."
Photo Credit: Ashley Lenzen – Nangkhor HSS – “Me and 35 of the reasons I’m staying in Bhutan next year…”
Photo Credit: Zezia Zuber - Class VII Graduates of Zhemgang Lower Secondary School
Photo Credit: Zezia Zuber – Class VII Graduates of Zhemgang Lower Secondary School

Visit Kezia’s blog at Zuber Goes to Zhemgang and Ashley and her husband’s at Traveled Earth!

Photo(s) of the Week – Annual School Picnics

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

Photo Credit: Sarah Diamond
Photo Credit: Sarah Diamond – Tshangkha LSS End of Year Picnic
Photo Credit: Sarah Diamond - Tshangkha LSS End of Year Picnic
Photo Credit: Sarah Diamond
Photo Credit: Sarah Diamond
Photo Credit: Sarah Diamond

Kuensel Online – Junior Guiding Program

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. 

Photo credit: Kuensal Online - Students and tourists interact during the tour program last Saturday
Photo Credit: Kuensel Online – Students and tourists interact during the tour program.

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.

Read more about the program from the Kuensel Online article – One Unique Program With Twin Objectives.

School Development Project – Gongthung Greenhouse

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!

Tanner, Warren - Gongthung Greenhouse Construction
Photo Credit: Warren Tanner – Greenhouse Construction
Tanner, Warren - Gongthung Greenhouse
Photo Credit: Warren Tanner – Gongthung Greenhouse!

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

Learn more about Warrens project Grant Gongthung a Greenhouse, and to see what other projects our teachers are working on this year check out The School Development Program!

Visit Warrens blog at Transmissions from Bhutan.

Blog of the Week – Wangduephodrang District Tshechu

Vicky Chartres is currently teaching English & Geography at Samtengang MSS in Wangdue, and was able to attend the Wangduephodrang Tshechu.

“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.

Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres - Wangduephodrang Tshechu
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres – Wangduephodrang Tshechu
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres - Wangduephodrang Tschechu
Photo Credit: Vicky Chartres – Wangduephodrang Tshechu

Visit Vicky’s blog here –  In the Shadow of the Mountains.

Blog of the Week – SEN Conference Thimphu

BCF teacher Angela Sutton, who is teaching Special Education at Khaling LSS in Trashigang, travelled to Thimphu in July for the national Special Educational Needs Conference organized by the Ministry of Education and the Bhutan Foundation.

Photo Credit: Angela Sutton - SEN Conference
Photo Credit: Angela Sutton – SEN Conference
Photo Credit: Angela Sutton - BCF teachers Vicky, Ian, Angela and Kezia
Photo Credit: Angela Sutton – BCF teachers Vicky, Ian, Angela and Kezia

“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

View Angela’s blog post to learn more! – SEN Conference – Thimphu

Bhutan Scouts Association

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!

Photo Credit: Angela Sutton
Photo Credit: Angela Sutton
Photo Credit: Angela Sutton - Scout Initiation
Photo Credit: Angela Sutton – Scout Initiation

Sections in Scouting:

  1. Contribute towards the development of young people to achieve their full potentials as responsible citizen.
  2. To inculcate team spirit and creative skills in relation to environment, social and civic responsibilities.
  3. To develop leadership capabilities in students through outdoor educational and experimental learning activities.
  4. To promote true understanding of nature and educate youth on social and cultural values.