Because illiteracy among children is a critical problem and school-age kids need proper promotion of life skills to apply in daily life, World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) has addressed these issues through support of the capacity building for teachers to make innovative teaching materials, supply of reading materials for school libraries and promotion of ‘Reading Lovers’ activity for students. In addition, a living exhibition has been held to showcase achievements of literacy and life skills enhancement for students in primary and secondary school levels from 49 schools in WVFT’s Mae Sariang Area Development Programme, Mae Hong Son province. In 2018, the event has been held for the first time to enable knowledge sharing among schools and to raise awareness among different sectors of the importance of quality education service.
It has also been the very first time of Nat, or Natharika, to present her meticulous hand-made booklets, which had won an award from the previous year’s northern region student handicraft contest. Along with this, “Window of the Knowledge of Thailand’s Ornament Plants and Flowers” and “Condominium of Thai Vocabulary”, as well as many other intriguing presentations from students across various schools under the responsibility of Mae Hong Son Primary Educational Service Area Office 2, have also been featured in the event. Nat and her peers take pride in their own work and have good attitude towards learning Thai and other subjects alike.
“Bilingual children need to work on the translation process. So, they are slower and not so fluent in reading,” Ms Em-orn Wongkham, a teacher from Ban Phae Pitthaya School talked about a reason why Karen speaking children can’t read Thai well. On top of that, their lesson was disrupted due to the teacher’s transfer or retirement, leaving almost of the entire class of the 1st graders in a difficult situation. Three years ago, the school proposed for the support to capacitate teachers in making instructional materials. Teacher Em-orn and her peers from 48 schools had an opportunity to attend an intensive course, which has finally enabled them to make innovative, colourful materials which can better draw children’s attention. “After the workshop, I’ve tried using the materials with my students. It turns out that they can read more fluently and have fun studying. They’ve been asking me when we’ll do this again. Everybody loves the tools, so they work. Everyone is satisfied with them,” said Teacher Em-orn happily.
Nat, now in Grade 9, recalled when she was in Grade 6: “I couldn’t read or write some words. I was fed up with studying. But with these modern materials, my grades have climbed up. Before I couldn’t read fluently, but now I can. My score in Thai language class has risen from 60 to 80. I’ve made pop-up books on Thai language expressions and booklets to tell stories. I feel glad and proud of my work. I’ve used them to teach the little children in primary school. I’d like to have a bachelor’s degree because I’d like to be a Thai language teacher,” Nat said cheerfully. “I’ve attended training to gain more knowledge. I’ve received school uniforms. My family has also been supported with a pig and a cow to raise to generate extra income. The pig has had many piglets, some of which have already been sold. Many thanks to the sponsor for caring about me and my family.”