Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ranminithenna School – IT Presentation

Posted on by Mr Tharindu

This is a very rural school and not many students knew about the Mahasenpura Community Computer Centre (MCCC) before our presentation.

Mr Nuwan and I led the presentation, whose aim is to demonstrate the importance of learning IT if students want to get good jobs when they leave school. Two of the teachers who also attended have now signed up for courses as well.

We also explained that it would be good for them to attend the MCCC as our courses are free whereas other computer institutes are expensive and also much further away.

Our ability to teach courses for free and give the community an opportunity to broaden its knowledge and upgrade its skills is thanks to Barclays Bank, which is sponsoring the centre for one year.

Alice and Chloe DAY 2 Osuwinna School

Posted on by Alice and Chloe

By day 2, we had got the hang of the early morning, and were ready on time and eager to get back to work. We were taken to a different and more developed school this time, with smaller classes that were more advanced. 560001_10151526961407344_1497290681_n

The infrastructure in this school was more sophisticated, and it had a bigger library, bigger classrooms, and a bigger playground area.

We quickly realised that our games from yesterday would not suffice here, and we had to adapt our classes to suit. I never realised how hard teachers had to work until this point.

However, we managed and spent half our time going over vocabulary and grammar, and half our time in the yard playing Duck Duck Goose with the vocabulary we had just learnt. This prompted rounds of Nose Nose Hand and Melon Melon Pineapple, and Elephant Elephant Leopard until we had exhausted all body parts and fruits and vegetables.

Thankfully, the bell rang just in time, and we moved on to the next class before Alice and I could start inventing animals.

1000004_10151526960267344_1603721149_nBy the the second class of the morning we had found out the school’s favourite game called ICE ICE, which we quickly realised was Stuck-in-the-Mud. Never ones to play by the rules at school, we quickly abandoned all ideas of taking proper lessons with the older children, and continued learning and revising vocabulary, before spending the second half of the classes outside.

This proved the best choice as the children seemed very  happy to be learning new “English Games”, and by the end of each lesson were much more confident in the words we had learnt.

Our final class of the day 2 took the same theme, but at the end, the girls performed for us the local dance, and sang some of the English songs they knew, while we frantically video-ed everything.  No amount  of their pleading and puppy-dog eyes could convince us to sing for them, however, we definitely drew the line at Heads Knees Shoulders Toes which we managed to convince them was a group song.

1001572_10151526961882344_1681506280_nBy the time we had to leave to catch the bus we had to be dragged aways, as the children were all so positive, with such a different attitude to learning and school than is described in the stereo-typical English school.

Our trip was perfectly organised and Jaya and his right hand man (AKA Mr Teddy!). They looked after us, and were so friendly taking us in safari, and helping us to negotiate the language barrier with ease.

We definitely laughed more in our two days in Sri Lankan schools than I probably did in a year at school in England.

We would definitely recommend visiting one of the schools if you have the chance.


Alice and Chloe DAY 1 at Nadigamwila School

Posted on by Alice and Chloe

We spent 10 days in Sri Lanka in July this summer, and travelled to Tissamaharama for two of them to visit a couple of schools there. We managed to find the right bus to Tissa the first time, and spent a happy two hours sweating out our bottled water whilst listening to Sri Lankan National music and whizzing along the recently developed road, on mostly the wrong side.

After arriving at our hotel we collapsed into bed, and woke up at 06:45 to frantic knocking, earlier than we had been up since the wildest nights out at university. This prompted a bleary eyed battle with our mosquito net and I was less than useless as I watched Alice performing a sort of upwards doggy-paddle style battle with metres of netting.

Collapsing with laughter had been taken to a whole new level. Yet we eventually managed to get up and dressed to “tuk tuk” to school.

944592_10151526960707344_1801934904_nOn arrival, it was immediately obvious how few tourists the children encounter. We were stared at at every opportunity, and I do not think that a single teacher had anyone’s full attention as we walked through the school to reach the principal’s office.

On meeting the Principal we had a moment of mutual panic, as it became clear that he did not speak English, but we were thankfully immediatley introduced to the English Teacher, who took us to our first class.

After handing over our cameras, we were asked to take the class, which comprised of twelve 11 year olds. Slightly plunged into the deep end, we introduced ourselves and set about playing vocabulary and memory games (Grandma went to market), heads knees shoulders and toes, and masses of Pictionary.

By the end of the class we had mastered writing on the blackboards without snapping the chalk every time, and the children were a lot more confident – a very rewarding start.

We then moved on to the next class, (we were told that every class wanted a “go” with the  English girls), where we played the same games, with a lot more singing.

One more class before break, and thank God, as I was starting to go hoarse, and get hand cramp, while still feeling like the star attraction at the zoo.

Break comprised of “spice hoppers”, a dish of sticky noodles with dahl, which came as a total shock as I had at least thought that Jaya had said “space hopper”, and I had assumed we would be bouncing around with the children on giant bouncy balls. I could not have been more wrong.

1001384_10151526962082344_1779671799_nInstead, we were constantly plied with little bunches of wild flowers from the girls, who were talented at everything from braiding hair to origami. By the end of the break we could barely hold our heads up from the amount of flowers plaited into our hair, and writing on the board became impossible as we were holding enormous bunches.

We decided to take the lessons outside, and introduced Grandma’s Footsteps, What’s the Time Mr Wolf, and Splat to the school. We were followed by at least 50% of all the classes, who gave us more flowers, and braided the rest of our hair.

By the end of the day, we were unable to leave, firstly because the children were so sweet, grateful, and happy and secondly because they still had fistfuls of our hair, and neither of us particularly wanted to have such a radical hairstyle as a bald head.

But eventually we managed to tear ourselves away, return to the hotel before heading over to the Yala National Park to go on safari.