Learning English with Suku Anak Dalam Jambi
Written by Hotman Simalango, Tanoto Scholar from Universitas Jambi
A few days ago, some of us, the recipients of Tanoto Foundation scholarships visited the indigenous group of Suku Anak Dalam Senami in Jambi. This visit was part of the regular activities of Tanoto Scholars Association (TSA) Jambi. In this particular visit, we planned to have “English Fun Day,” a day where the children of Suku Anak Dalam Senami could learn simple English through fun activities such as learning and playing.
When we arrived at the location, no child was to be found around the village. However, that situation changed when some mothers saw us and started shouting for their children to come. Not long after, many children started to show up and gather around the local health clinic.
Afterward, one of the children complained that a long time had occurred from the last time we visited them. This expression of protest touched us deeply. We realized that, although these children lived in a remote area in the forest, their spirit to learn was high. We promised to come every week to visit these young children.
Our sessions were filled with their laughter and silly yet funny behavior. Although it was not easy to teach them, we enjoyed the experience tremendously. For example, when they were learning new English words through singing, they kept saying the words with incorrect pronunciation. The Tanoto Scholars had to patiently guide them so they could say the words correctly.
We also had a game of “Step on the Alphabet.” This was done so these children could recognize the alphabet. This game also improved their motor skills. Through these fun activities, they were encouraged to learn the basic skills of reading and learning.
On the other hand, we, the Tanoto Scholars also learned from this experience. For example, we realized that each child learned at his or her own speed. We also learned that we need to be creative to hold their attention a period of time.
The activity with Suku Anak Dalam Senami is a part of Tanoto Scholars effort to give back to community. Other activities of Tanoto Scholar Association Jambi include regular visit to local orphanage to encourage the young children to love books and learning.