STEM, Service Learning and EVG Community Library

Against the backdrop of the complicated developments of the pandemic that hit our country, in particular, Cau Ke’s local community confirmed some COVID-19 cases. To ensure people’s safety and manage to control the pandemic, the issuance of the Directive was made by the local authorities promptly.

Under the new Directive of Tra Vinh province, we decided to close our libraries. Most of the library activities temporarily came to a halt to ensure people’s safety.

To continue to fulfill the mission related to improving access to the quality of education and to enable the children to catch up with the new trend, all the activities, classes have taken place via online platform. Furthermore, the library has brought the library’s existing computers, laptops to the children’s homes. Then we guide them and their parents on how to use laptops and online classrooms of Zoom apps where they can join the Library’s online classes with other partners and volunteers both domestically and internationally.

With these actions, the children can easily access the knowledge of not only the library’s classes but also online courses. Moreover, this method will ensure health protection, reduce their parent’s anxiety, and know the ways of online learning.

After more than one week of the preparation and delivery of laptops, the first class was conducted pretty well. The students actively engaged in the lesson even though they showed their minor shyness because that was the first time they met people via computer screen. The most difficult they had to face in the first lesson was login activities (despite the careful guidance and run trials) as well as other Zoom functions to do the practice and interact with volunteer teachers. Be that as it may, most people expressed their patience and happiness when guiding and waiting for children until they could do those practices well and then moved on to other activities.

Before the lesson, the children would sing the song “Hello” together to arouse their interest and then they would give their introduction to others in English to help strengthen the bond, minimize the gap between them and volunteers. During the lesson, the majority of children tended to be quite shy and turned off the camera but after having been asked to turn it on, they followed very well and strictly. At the end of the lesson, most of them expressed their thankfulness and shared their feelings, thinking about that lesson.

 In June, the classes continuously took place from Wednesday morning to Sunday every week. The morning classrooms mainly focus on primary students from age 8 to 10 years old with a wide variety of interesting topics such as animal names, tower building, learning English through songs, bathroom objects, classrooms,…

 The afternoon classrooms will teach students at the secondary and higher education with the advanced level, the children discuss and study grammar rules (noun, verb, adjective, conjunction,.), topic-related vocabulary such as the bathroom, school as well as virtual reality, 3D printer, Scratch program,

During the lesson, some activities were organized in many ways, in particular, breaking down the rooms – Breakout Zoom, Annotate to draw, answering the questions in the box chat, all the students were highly interested in those activities and shown their excitement about them, which help students not only remember knowledge but also boost their interaction among them as well as develop observational skill and listening skill.

After about two lessons, the students in the morning class were more confident and did not hesitate to interact with volunteers and actively ask people. The class gradually expanded from 10 to nearly 20 participants in a class. Students were not only in Phong Thanh commune (Library) but also expanded to adjacent communes such as Phong Phu, Cau Ke, etc. Besides, students also used computers and phones at home to study with the library due to the limited number of computers. All the children expressed their preferences when participating in the class and wanted to grasp more knowledge. The ability to use computers has become much more proficient, they actively logged into class earlier than the given time to check their attendance.

Prior to COVID 19, the children mainly studied at the library and no matter how difficult they were, volunteers willingly supported in a timely manner and managed the class easier. In the new situation, it is also an advantage for them to get used to computers, have more time to learn and while introducing to their parents about access, find out the information. Volunteers also would gain valuable experience in organizing online classes and managing distance learning.

Despite the complicated developments of the pandemic, the library makes great efforts

so that more classes can be given to students, and they are not left behind.

In addition, three students of the library won the Beyond Borders scholarship. In 6 months, they have successfully completed their study period. Students persistently attended and actively engaged in all the classes. They also got many rewards from teachers and people. At the end of the class ceremony, Miss Hoa was responsible for the host and the project’s teacher. Because of her experience as MC at the Library, she was very bold, confident, and highly communicative in the activities. Some students such as Ngoc, Tram, and Anh Thu dubbed the short film Frozen.  We are very happy and take a great deal of pride in them because they did a great job, they willingly put themselves out of limits, improve their English pronunciation skills, embrace proactive learning and know-how to manage their time well that do not affect their academic performance in the school

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