Connecting through the classroom from your home to children in rural Vietnam. Better Life Vietnam (BLV) is an NGO based in Vietnam empowering its students by teaching English with a focus on pronunciation to enhance current and future abilities to prosper in business and communication. They are supporting lives to excel!
“Better Life Vietnam (BLV) is an NGO working to improve education conditions for underprivileged children and youth. We have recently launched an Online English Communication Program. Teaching and learning English are not efficient at public schools. Students who come from low-income families in the city and in rural areas have an especially hard time with learning and practicing English. Currently, English is on track to be the most spoken second language in Vietnam, however, compared to their city counterparts, these students are at a disadvantage and do not have the chance to study at English centers with native teachers. Our goal is to raise the level of English proficiency in underprivileged students who live in rural areas, mountainous areas, areas outside of the city center, and industrial areas. BLV will partner with Public schools and organizations to bring foreign volunteers to provide the opportunity for these children to learn, practice, and confidently speak English. We hope to further enrich the students’ knowledge of English and give them the opportunity to be more informed of the happenings of the modern world.”
Originally discovering this organization through the United Nations Online Volunteering website, you are connected with the community of this organization. With many opportunities to be involved, teaching virtually is how many people have been introduced to the wonderful people of Vietnam. Completing the application with a CV submission, attending the online orientation, and signing up for your available time slots that align with the ICT timezone classes, you join a team and begin with your weekly classes.
It is astounding how motivated, engaged, and enthusiastic the students are! Their passion is unmatched, a passion that is heard through their speaking that improves significantly each week. The student’s classes are spread across the week, the first class with the team teacher and two review classes each one with one of the two team facilitators leading the class.
During the facilitator role, as you engage with the students, you listen carefully to the pronunciation and any mistakes. Taking note of these mistakes and correcting the grammar and pronunciation use. These students are very intelligent, it can be positively impactful to hear the students speak and read first. Applauding their effort, zoom in on the grammar that wasn’t correct by isolating the instance. “I am eleven yearS old.” Emphasizing with your voice and elongating the target word to convey the correction. Then the student repeats.
This correction process can also be used for correcting pronunciation problems. Every culture in the world can have difficulty pronouncing words in a language that is foreign to them. Each language has a strong influence on how we shape our bodies to create the unique words and phrases. It can like a throat dance speaking new languages. Fun, quirky, until the duck becomes the swan! Certain sounds that have been challenging for the BLV students include “Th” and “r” sounds. A way to isolate these has been for the facilitator to demonstrate the sound, even showing how you form the sound in an exaggerated display. “Rrrrrr” like a bear! This is a silly exercise that makes everyone laugh and releases any tension in a humanizing way. “Bah-rrrrr-ead. Bread.” Voila! This method has been quite effective, yet like life, does not fit every situation.
The best part of the day is being in class with the students. They are genuinely excited to see you and ask you off book questions to practice their speaking. It is an incredible feeling to connect with people in other parts of the world through this organization. At the time of the writing, volunteers come from Brazil, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, China, and of course Vietnam! By participating in this work, your network grows and connections grow with people of the same heart as yours.
As always and forever: No matter your background, you are enough, and have so much to offer the world magnificently as you are!
Please check out Better Life Vietnam and their sister organizations Coeurs de Papier and Tours for Books. One way you can spread their message and mission right now is to follow their pages on social media linked below.
Coeurs de Papier is empowering disabled youths. Help them by buying their artwork!
Tours for Books is a non-profit travel agency where all profits are used to improve education conditions in Vietnam.