Contact Center Evaluation & Tracking System Completed!
Taylor and I are finishing up our final nine weeks of volunteering at BSF and have completed our project! As a quick summary, for the past two months I (Lauren) have looked through almost 30 textbooks for the six different class levels at the BSF Contact Center. For each level I created a year-long syllabus that is based on the books that the students use in class. These subjects cover math, science, English, social studies, drawing, general knowledge, and Nepali. And no, I did not write the Nepali exams and am leaving that up to the teachers. 😊
Following the Nepali education system, the Contact Center gives out four exams per year to check on the student progress. One of our project goals was to create more comprehensive exams. We found out that it had been a challenge to create the content in the past on top of all of the other responsibilities that the Content Center has. After writing up each of the six grade level syllabi, I then created four exams and four answer sheets for each subject and grade level. Additionally, I made notes for the teachers so that they can have references for why I chose specific questions and where the information on the exams can be found in the books.
Although the work was somewhat tedious, I loved it. Each day I would complete about one subject of one class level exam. For example, on a Monday I would work all day on English exam 1, 2, 3, and 4 for grade level 2. The next day I would do math exam 1, 2, 3, and 4 for grade level 2 and so on. Over the course of the 8 weeks, I finished creating 24 exams that contain 4 to 6 subjects each. And I am happy to say that it is now completed!
Taylor, on the other hand, spent his mornings at the Vibhuti Secondary School across the street where many of the Contact Center kids go once they graduate from BSF. He taught English in the mornings (to grade 3 to grade 10) throughout the week. The students LOVED him. I recently went to the school’s welcoming program for new students and teachers. The kids could not get enough selfies with Taylor and me. The students are so polite and love to ask about America. “What is the longest river in America?” “Was there ever an inner conflict in American history?” “Can you please teach us your national anthem?” And so on……
We recently were invited to a Nepali wedding for one of the teachers at Vibhuti! We danced for hours to traditional music and, as the only Americans attending, we were asked what a popular wedding song was in America. So Taylor and I taught everyone “Shout!” by the Isley Brothers. It definitely made us step out of our comfort zones to dance for the wedding attendees, but we had a great time.
As I said, Taylor would spend his mornings at Vibhuti and the afternoons at the Contact Center. At the Contact Center he created a spreadsheet that can track the students’ test scores for the next 20 years. This spreadsheet is modeled to look exactly like the report cards that the teachers have used in the past, but will be on the computer rather than handwritten. The only task for the teachers is to input the test scores and the program auto-populates to show student progress in various subjects, year to year progression of the students, and the overall progress of the Contact Center. Using this system, the staff will be able to track the students' academic progression and accurately evaluate when they are fit to attend secondary school upon graduating from the Contact Center. Taylor went above and beyond with the spreadsheets and I am very impressed.
Last weekend was the annual Nepali New Year’s potluck with the BSF staff. We played lots of games, sang songs, had dance-offs, and ate lots of homecooked food. It’s been really nice to feel so included by the staff members and we are very appreciative to feel like a part of the family while living here during these few months.
Now that we are finished with our project, we only have about a week left in Nepal. We will spend our days training the teachers and Leena how to use the student evaluation and tracking system. Since completing the project, we are looking forward to spending more time hanging out with the kids at the Contact Center. We are excited that we could finish everything we had planned and very thankful for this experience!