“Teaching Thai language to these children is a great challenge because all of them are Karen,” expressed Jiraporn Na Muangmai, a tough teacher of Banmahinluang School. With the strong ideology to enhance the education of underprivileged children, Jiraporn is indefatigable to many obstacles that cause her students are not able to read and write as they should be. “If there is a choice, no child would like to grow up without a chance to study.”
Banmahinluang School is not located in the urban area and the four wheel drive car is required during rainy season to reach the school in Muangpon subdistrict. All 46 students in Banmahinluang School are Thai Karen children who speak Karen language both at home and school so they are not familiar with Thai consonants, vowel and tonal reading. The kids are also confused with the pronunciation of Thai consonants and some children feel embarrassed to speak Thai. In addition, Jiraporn found that the visual media used in teaching is not complete and damaged and the school has no budget to buy or make new teaching media so her students can develop reading and writing slowly.
“The first thing to find out is the problem of reading and writing of children in the community. Not only Banmahinluang School but also the other schools have collaborated with teachers and the Mae Hong Son Primary Education Service Area Office 1, in solving the problem of learning Thai language. We have the assessment of learning outcomes after supporting books and reading diaries. The reading and writing competencies of the children have to pass the criteria to a better level,” Withuporn Ornsamang, the officer of Khun Yuam Development of the well-being of Children, Families and Communities Programme told about her work intention. She also informed that Khun Yuam Development of the well-being of Children, Families and Communities Programme is the new development area that World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) has started the progression by supporting the educational activities to solve the reading and writing problems of children in remote areas.
Everyday after lunch, the school allocates the time for 30 minutes to students to read and record their own development in reading. Children are enjoyable to spend time reading together. The books sponsored by WVFT are beautiful with colorful pictures to draw the attention of children to try reading. The classroom teacher also has a good teaching technique that makes children feel enjoyable and do not feel bored, and want to participate the reading activities that are held.
The reading activity and recording reading development in the past semester have instilled a habit to students to like reading more books both in class and at leisure. The other thing is that children can read and write faster inadvertently.
A grade 3, schoolgirl named Arina Wanpana described her learning, “Thank you for supporting the good beautiful rare books to my school. The books are very useful! My friends and I like the books very much!”
“Thanks to the generous donors and WVFT to support the books to us. Now the school has enough teaching media to do activities to improve the literacy skills of children,” the teacher named Jiraporn said thank you with a sweet smile.