Peyton and Morgan here! ACE in Vietnam has been an amazing experience so far for the both of us, especially in terms of being at the school and spending time with the enthusiastic students. We are at Truong Trung Hoc Co So Thuan Hung school in Long My which generously allows Coach for College to run their three week educational and athletic camp at their facilities. We both believe that CFC is so special because of the energy and excitement the children bring each day into the classroom and on the sports courts/fields. They come in each day with smiles on their faces ready to get started typically ten minutes before they even are supposed to be there!
In the classroom, we teach English together. In six grade, we started off with a refresher on the alphabet and numbers 1-10. Then we jumped into some introductory questions such as “What’s your name? How old are you?” We also began covering members of the family too. In the seventh grade, we started with similar introductory questions as the sixth grade and identifying family members as review. Then we jumped into new material which included days of the week and months of the year. In both grades, we focused on making sure the students understood the meanings of the words and their pronunciations with. The Vietnamese coaches were so so helpful and essential in the process of helping the students understand the English meanings of words and phrases. Among both the 6th and 7th grade students, we have noticed the courage and bravery it takes to learn a new language especially among brand new people in their lives. Their willingness to try their best and make mistakes in order to understand the material has been so fun and inspiring to watch. Although we see that our students may be a bit shy to begin, with encouragement and the assurance that it’s okay to make mistakes when learning, we see them speaking up more.
“We have really enjoyed learning new Vietnamese words because it gives us the opportunity to better connect with the students and their lives. The classroom has rapidly become a two-way street of learning between our students and us.”
To our surprise, there were a handful of students who spoke a little bit of fluent English and were able to have full conversations with us. One student has actually been learning English for ten or so years and began talking to us about his favorite American movie characters such as Hermione in the popular series, “Harry Potter.” He even began shouting the Latin spells featured in the movie surrounding wizardry. Through the Harry Potter films, he picked up on English slang and put his vocabulary to test.
Similar to how we teach common English phrases, the students are just as eager to teach us Vietnamese phrases, even correcting our pronunciations on occasion. We have really enjoyed learning new Vietnamese words because it gives us the opportunity to better connect with the students and their lives. The classroom has rapidly become a two-way street of learning between our students and us. We can’t wait to see what the next two weeks has in store for our students, and how we can use their new English language skills to connect better!