Nepal Week Two!

photo credit: James Waterfield

Bhaktapur

The second week in Bhaktapur saw the mentors face some of the toughest, funniest and rewarding moments of the whole trip.  

Having taught for a week we were beginning to get accustomed to teaching in classrooms that featured puddles and bamboo poles and were still working tirelessly to equip our students to win the ever looming competition.

Usually, after teaching we were accompanied back to our hostel by a group of our students who volunteered themselves as guides, and in the evenings we got up to super cool activities like pottery making, shopping and we even climbed a mountain!

One particular day, Jack insisted we walk to the very edge of the town in pursuit of a river – the river didn’t prove to be very scenic and feeling deflated we made our way back to the hostel. The journey was not wasted however as we soon came across a group of boys playing football and a group of little girls dancing –(truly the Destiny’s Child of Nepal), we soon joined in on their fun and spent a good hour enjoying games and laughter with the locals. The day reached peak fun when mentor Sana got peed on by possibly the cutest baby in the universe.

Getting to teach such wonderful students in a UNESCO world heritage site was truly memorable!

Sana Yusuf

photo credit: Alex Dugan

Kathmandu

After week one’s sessions, the students were energised and well informed on style, PEEL, points of information’s and rebuttals. With each mentor teaching their class in the ways they knew would be most effective in engaging each student. For instance, myself (Leslian) I used chants and songs to engage my students and to help them remember the key parts of a debate. As we all know how hard it is to get a song out of our head. The aim was to get these key ideas and concepts of debating embedded in their heads. And dare I say it worked!

This week the main focus was perfecting small details and introducing and explaining roles as well as summary speeches and ensuring the students used their preparation time before a debate most effectively. Then of course running multiple debates and seeing the knowledge they have gained put into action.

The school assembly each morning got both students and mentors prepared for a day of lessons. Especially the Samata school song which we the mentors grew very fond of. It took only 2 days before we learnt a large proportion of the song. Just as the students debating skills developed our knowledge of the school song and it’s meaning also developed. Many of the mentors for example myself and Eva ended our sessions with a little rendition of the school song with our students, which proved to be well appreciated.

The activities that were adored by the students this week included ‘Maa maa moo’. An activity that required the students to really draw on their style and put special effort into how they convey different meanings and scenarios only using the words maa maa moo. In each class, some great acting skills were put to use, as well as the students gaining more confidence to use style when giving their speeches in their debates. This activity really allowed the more introvert students in both mine and Netra’s classes to develop their confidence in speaking in front of others, especially when they saw their mentors really getting into their ‘maa maa moo’ scenarios.

In addition, another activity that really got the students engaged was ‘where do you stand’. In the second week, the mentors really encouraged the students to justify their opinions as they would in a debate. We all did this by prompting the students with questions such as why? Is their evidence for this? And so on. This proved to be very effective in Kris’s classes, with the students giving some excellent justifications with examples to support their claims.

This week’s teaching week finished on a very sweet note. With each mentor getting gifts such as; bracelets from the students. As well as saying our goodbyes to those who would not be competing in the forthcoming competitions and giving our final words of encouragement to all the students we had taught over the past two weeks. Ensuring each student knew just how talented and able they all  were. As well as how far they had come in their confidence and public speaking abilities.  

Leslian Thomas