Blogs and News - St George's School For Girls, Edinburgh
During the October break, a group of 36 of us went on an expedition to Nepal. We were given the opportunity to contribute to the local community by working in a remote school for a few days. This is a school that St George's has had a connection with for 7 years now; we have fundraised to support the school on several occasions, such as in 2015 after the Nepal earthquake.
The school were so grateful to have us there and welcomed us very warmly. We arrived on a public holiday (the Dashain Festival) and so it was supposed to be a school holiday, however because of our arrival the students chose to come in as they were so eager to learn and spend time with native English speakers. At the start of our time at the school I was worried that we would not be able to provide them with meaningful teaching. Without any teacher training and having only a few days there I wondered how we could make a lasting impact. For these people English is so important. It makes a huge difference to their futures; it can define what jobs they can get and therefore how much money they make and their social standing.
Another thing that determines social status in Nepal is the caste system. This is a historic system that separates people by class and although it officially does not still exist it is evidently still influential. This school is unique in the way that it is very inclusive, accepting children from all castes and backgrounds and giving them an equal education and opportunity in life.
Despite the concerns I had at the start I wanted to give everything I had to this time at the school and leave the school feeling I had made a difference. We all threw ourselves into it, engaging with the Nepali children and trying to provide them with a different style of learning. In Nepal they are very traditional in the way they teach, reading from the textbook and flying through content expecting the students to keep up. There were children that did manage to keep up and thrive, but it was also evident that there were lots who were very behind. Everyone learns in different ways and being able to recognise that and provide those that were struggling with a different way of thinking was important. We taught English through games, songs and active learning and left feeling like we really had made a difference.
Charlotte (Lower 6)