Intensive English Programme 2022 MEGST
After 11 weeks of online teaching the Intensive English Programme [IEP] for prospective MEGST students ended with a joyful celebration service. Students and tutors spoke about the effect of the course, and a common theme was the growing confidence many students now felt in using English.
“It’s been an incredible journey – not just the teaching but I have learnt from your example.”
“It has been one of the most precious moments of my life.”
“We have learnt from your love and your passionate heart.”
“IEP is the best class I have ever had in my life.”
The two classes which began in March were taught by eight volunteers, assisted by four tutors based in Myanmar. Six of the teachers had taught the course online the previous year and benefitted from experience gained in teaching via Zoom and using Google classroom. It was great to have two new teachers to add to the team this year.
Teaching online is not without its challenges particularly when Myanmar students have to cope daily with intermittent power and rising data costs. Some did not have access to a laptop and had to connect by phone. One tutor based in a remote Northern village had to resort to walking around the village to find a better WIFI connection and in one instance even climbed a tree! Teachers were also very aware of the dangers many students were facing from the conflict. As well as hearing roosters and dogs in the background we could at times hear gunfire when some students unmuted.
The four tutors were a valuable asset in the way they problem solved with technology, ran breakout rooms and quietly reminded teachers who had forgotten to unmute or make them co-hosts.
The course seeks to prepare students for the challenges of using academic English in their theological studies. However, as the students commented, it wasn’t just about the English teaching. The resources that have been developed also seek to develop students spiritually. Each day’s teaching began with devotions, either taken by a teacher or one of the students.
It is hoped that in the future, teachers will be able to travel to Myanmar to teach the course face to face. In the meantime, the opportunity to teach online is a blessing for all who participate.