Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Today we visited Campie and Musselburgh Grammar

It was another nice day, quite sunny. I had my traditional Shan ethnic dress on so that teachers and students would have a chance to know what we wear in Burma.

Our first class was P6 (a) and the class teacher was Ms. Zoe. We brought two big posters from Thai-Burma borders. Both has the same title ‘Who is in charge of your life?’. The Campie primary students last year sent their poster with their different thoughts on the topic to CDC students in Mae Sot, Thailand so that our Burmese students could know and do a comparison with them. The Campie students, at that time in their P5 mentioned such as – parents, teachers, government, etc. But a year later, when I asked them if they have changed their thinking about the person in charge of their life, many grade 6 studnets answered ‘yes’ and asked me to add ‘yourself” in the list.

Our CDC students’ poster which was brought back by Campie teachers had some notes in it. The person in charge of their lives: Dr. Cynthia Maung, Aung San Suu Kyi, parents, teachers. Then I had to explain Campie’s grade 6 students who Dr. Cynhtia and Aung San Suu Kyi were, and why they have chosen so. The Campie students looked very interesting that a medical doctor has been providing health care for 150,000 population and providing an education opportunities for thousands of refugee children. Also, unless Burma becomes a democratic nation, many children’s lives, including CDC students, are not going to be easy. That was why they chose our democracy champion Aung San Suu Khi, the 1990 Noble Peace Prize Winner, as their aspired person. I found the students’ opinions in both schools quite interesting, and believed they all learned something from each other, simply by sending the posters with scribbles.

We answered some more questions from the students about CDC children and their lives on borders and refugee camps. One campie child asked me what would I do for CDC school if I had received lots and lots of money. They seemed to be quite astonished to my answer as I explained that I would provide a reading corner with lots of books in every classroom at CDC and more books for both teachers and students.

We concluded our lesson by teaching them how we spelt Campie School in Burmese, and they wrote their very first Burmese words.

After the first class, our acting Head Teacher, Mrs. Clarke, took us to Musselburgh Grammar School. I was invited to observe the first part of Citizenship class for Secondary (5/6) with the teacher, Ms. Jane Bonnar. After a quick chat, she asked me to do a presentation about my life story and the stuggle for democracy and human rights in Burma. For next 25 minutes, all the 35 senior students found it quite interesting to learn someone of their age had to become an active member in democratic struggle, escaped to remotest jungle on borders, set up a school for 500 displaced children, and survived on monthly income of a tin of rice and some vegetables for seven years. Many more interesting questions, answers and comments followed. I learned the new teaching methodology – Think, Learn, and ACT.

Three students showed us classes for Social Sciences, Arts and Business Management subjects. We observed each classes, had a chat with the teachers and studnets and learned a lot. I was quite surprised to learn that all students had to submit their art works for assessment. And I quite liked the idea. The Art teacher was explaining me how the students had been utilizing recycled materials to create their art work and learn in class. RME was also a key learning area, both Say Hei and I had very little knowledge regarding curriculum planning.

During lunch time at the Grammar school, I had another opportunity to talk to Musselburhg’s students members of the Amnesty International. I am quite delighted to observe that young students are concerned about international crisis and humanitarian situation elsewhere. I learned their activities, and shared my life as an activist students 23 years ago.

When we come back to Campie, P (4/5/6/7) students were ready for an assembly. Ms. Juliane explained them about the Global School partnership project and our journey from Thai-Burma borders to Campie and how we are doing. Then the students from different classes asked questions to Say Hei and me. Very interesting questions about lives in other part of the world.

Then we visited Ms. Kat’s house for dinner, and she cooked for us a wonderful meals.

Thein Naing and Say Hei

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