Vol. VI No. 5 - Tuesday March 27, - April 2, 2007
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ACADEMIA NUTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Shaping the way we teach English

Reaching out

Chiang Mai Model United Nations

Shaping the way we teach English

George Wilcox at the presentation at Chiang Mai University.

U.S. Embassy Regional English Language Officer George Wilcox recently presented new English teaching materials to interested teaching professionals at Chiang Mai University’s American Corner. Wilcox introduced the U.S. Government-produced DVD series “Shaping the Way We Teach English” at CMU to an audience of some 40 teachers, course coordinators and other experts in the field. Wilcox also visited Prince Royals College to introduce the materials to PRC and the Dara Academy staff. Both programs were arranged by the U.S. Embassy Bangkok in cooperation with the U.S. Consulate Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai’s Ace! The Academy for EducationUSA. For more about the DVD series, visit http://oelp.uoregon.edu/video.htm.


Reaching out

By Eunice del Rosario

A GROUP of children have just returned to Bahrain after helping in the construction of a school in a poor area of Thailand.

The finishing touches are added to the school.

The 28 pupils from St Christopher’s School, aged 10 to 18, raised money for the Ban Huaymuang School for hill tribe children in Chang Rai, Northern Thailand, during the trip.

They even helped with its construction under the supervision of three teachers.

The community service mission, which takes a group of Bahrain students to Thailand to learn more about its geography and people, is now set to continue.

“The students’ task over the eight days was to familiarize themselves with the unique geography of the area while helping needy children at the same time,” explained school geography head Steve Martin, who accompanied the group.

“One of the main aims of the trip was to provide the opportunity to garner first-hand knowledge of how people live in this part of the Far East.”

Before leaving Bahrain on March 1, the students organized a sponsored run and a bake sale to raise over BD850 to build a cafeteria at the Ban Huaymuang School.

The cafeteria was later named the Thailand-Bahrain Canteen.

“Although the priority was to aid the construction of the school building, all students found the time to conduct their English lessons or play sport with the Thai students,” said Mr Martin.

“Admittedly, at first both sides were quite shy, but by the second day a football match and a whole school game of ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ had broken the ice.

Bahraini-British pupil Anisa Ghuloom, aged 18, said every single day spent in Thailand was enjoyable.

“It was fun all the time and everyone was sad to leave,” she said.

“It was my first time in Thailand and it was really exciting.

“The community project was so rewarding.

“Meeting the Thai children, who were aged four to about 14 - because for some of them their schooling had been disrupted - was one of the best parts of the trip.”

One of the Bahrain students’ first tasks was to learn some Thai and prepare English lessons for the local children at the Ban Huaymuang School.

However, while staying at the resort the group also learned about the geography of the area - trekking through the Thai hillside in particular provided a perfect opportunity for geography lessons.

Briton Diego Fenwick, aged 16, had been to Thailand before, but said this trip was different and a lot more fun.

“We had to learn a bit of Thai because the children did not speak that much English,” he said.

Memories remain for all the students who took part in the community service mission.

“All of them could not help but be affected by the stark contrast between the living standards in northern Thailand and their own,” said Mr Martin.

“Ban Huaymuang School has especially poor families owing to the fact that most of its students are from the Lahu hill tribes, which travel to the school as boarders thanks to the support of a Korean missionary group.

“Without the opportunity to board, many of these children would not have the means nor would it be possible for them to get to school.

“The rooms, however, are basic with concrete floors and mostly - the students were told - there were 15 children to a room sleeping on plastic mats.”

St Christopher’s School plans to next year help refurbish the dormitory and support the renovation of the medical room and library.

The school intends to maintain a link with the Ban Huaymuang School to try to make a real difference to the quality of life of the Lahu children, perhaps even supporting some students through university in Chiang Mai.

Article reprinted courtesy of Gulf Daily News, Bahrain. Photos courtesy of Steve Martin.


Chiang Mai Model United Nations

Martin Foakes

Earlier this month the auditorium at Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) was transformed into a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council, as students from CMIS, and Lanna International School, represented UN delegates from around the world in an intense depiction of the recent United Nations conference on human rights issues in Burma.

Mr. Martin Foakes looks over Russian delegates.

The mini-conference was the first event in a planned Model United Nations caucus to be held in Chiang Mai later in the year. Students from CMIS, Lanna, Nakorn Payup International School, and Prem Tinsulanonda International School have been working hard to research their assigned countries’ positions on topics of global interest, such as the problems of piracy on the high seas, climate change, and nuclear proliferation. The students have also been fully involved in the planning and setup of the event, from making individual country placards, to publicity, and pizza ordering.

In Switzerland earlier this year, the United States-sponsored resolution calling for immediate action by the Burmese government to improve the human rights situation in that country failed to pass; both Russia and China voted against the resolution. And in the Chiang Mai conference, despite widespread support for the actions requested, the resolution failed once again.

Representatives from the Free Burma Rangers introduced the session with a presentation about their work, and the current situation in Burma. A moderated caucus ensued, ably chaired by Alesha Dunlevy and Jung Min Lee from CMIS. The Japanese delegation spoke convincingly about the right of other nations to “keep internal affairs internal,” while Zimbabwe seemed unwilling to accept that there was any kind of problem at all in Burma. South American nations Brazil and Colombia furthered the political wrangling with a series of probing questions, effectively challenging and testing their “opponents.” It’s apparent that Chiang Mai is home to a generation of budding politicians, who have already begun honing their skills at the first ever Chiang Mai Model United Nations.

For further information about the Model United Nations in Chiang Mai, please contact CMIS teacher, Mr. Martin Foakes at: [email protected]

Model UN Delegates address their peers.



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