Ask a Volunteer
What has your Peace Corps experience taught you about learning a new language?
Answer: In teaching English to students in Cambodia, I have become increasingly aware of how my own learning of Khmer can help me identify mistakes they make when they attempt to directly translate their thoughts. When they say that something is “big big,” I know that they are relating to the fact that using an adjective twice in Khmer indicates a superlative. And when students ask me if I am “boring,” I know (I hope!) they're confused with “bored,” since Khmer has only one word for both terms. Truly to be a teacher, you must always be willing to learn.
—Colin Doyle, Peace Corps Volunteer, English Education, Cambodia
Answer: I've learned that language is more than just how you express a name for an object or a concept. It is also a paradigm for how you view that object or concept. In fact, language is an underpinning of our worldview to a greater extent than I could ever have imagined. A simple example is the Khmer word for “hungry,” which is literally “hungry for rice.” Food here is rice, and that is expressed through that phrase. And, vice versa, my students can't believe why blue—a beautiful color—signifies “sadness” in English.
—Autumn West, Peace Corps Volunteer, English Education, Cambodia
Answer: Learning a new language is very challenging to me. I consider myself a slow learner but I can catch on in time; just give me time to practice. I learn best when not forced to speak out; I will speak out when I am confident, and that means I must hear the word over and over many times. The teacher also has to motivate the student by giving compliments when the student can do the task and be patient with the slow student. On the other hand, the teacher probably should know each student's learning style and try to understand individual students. Finally, one must be able to use the new vocabularies as much as possible in the community or with the native speakers.
—Nipawan Sawatdipanich, Peace Corps Training Assistant, Thailand
To help you find activities to enhance student participation in Earth Day, visit these links:
- Background on Earth Day by founder of the celebration, the late Senator Gaylord Nelson
- EPA Earth Day: History, tips, suggestions, and timeline
- Earth Day activities for elementary-grade students
- Earth Day resources for teachers and students
- The GLOBE Program: Internationally focused program that promotes inquiry-based investigations of the Earth's environment
- United Nations Environment Programme
World Wise Schools Resources
- Podcasts: Environment
- Stories: Environment
- Lesson Plans: Our newest environment-focused lesson plans that accompany slide shows:
The Peace Corps, the National Peace Corps Association, and the Seattle Area Peace Corps Association are hosting a Peace Corps exposition on Sunday, May 4, in Seattle to increase awareness of returned Peace Corps Volunteer activities in local communities in the greater Seattle area. This expo, with the participation of schools, communities, and community-service organizations, will bring attention to how returned Volunteers bring their international experience home and now make a difference in their own communities.
As a Coverdell World Wise School educator, you are invited to join us at this exposition to learn even more about the impact of the Peace Corps in communities both internationally and here at home. For updated information, please visit www.peacecorpsconnect.org/openhouses.
Additionally, if you are a returned Volunteer who is teaching and would like to showcase how you are making a difference in your school, we invite you to apply to exhibit at this expo. Your exhibit should highlight the Peace Corps goal of helping Americans better understand other cultures, through presentations or demonstrations. For more information and to register, please go to http://www.rpcv.org/pages/sitepage.cfm?id=1850.