INQUIRY-BASED METHODS BUILD CHILDREN’S CONFIDENCE
An eleven-year-old Mithona is in grade 6 and is an active Children’s Council leader in Prey Mul primary school. She describes a new inquiry-based learning approach implemented by Save the Children.
“I am happy with the new teaching techniques my teacher uses. They help build my confidence when I speak and interact with my community,” Mithona said with a big smile.
Kong Khoeurn Mithona is the youngest of two in a poor family from Rolea B'ier district, Kampong Chhnang province. Her classmates often bullied Mithona because she has dark skin and curly hair. That made her unhappy. Sometimes, she was afraid to talk to anyone because they would make jokes about her. Because of this, she was not interested in going to school.
She also recalled times when there were shortages of food that forced her to work in the fields, cut firewood and fetch water for extra income. Sometimes, Mithona missed class and did not perform well in school.
In 2020, with funding from Kyobo Life Insurance Company through Save the Children Korea, Save the Children worked closely with the Provincial Office of Education to implement the Education with Quality and Inclusive Learning (EQUAL) project in Prey Mul Commune. The project aimed to train teachers on inquiry-based learning approaches for teaching the sciences and social studies to support children’s learning.
“I have applied inquiry-based methods into my teaching plan,” Seyha, Mithona’s teacher explained. “I assigned students to work as a team to search for and collect information from the library and learning clubs.”
The students struggled in the beginning because it was a new learning approach where they needed to find information from learning resources and interview people in and outside school. Mithona was nervous about doing the first assignment, which required her to interview people and collect data because she had never experienced it. “My team and I worked with the teacher to develop a questionnaire and interview teachers and students in school-related to the Covid-19 situation,” Mithona said.
Mithona and her team presented their findings to their classmates and teachers, who even provided feedback to enrich their learning contents. By doing this day after day, Mithona has built up her confidence and now shows her potential in class.
“This approach is very helpful for my students, especially Mithona,” Seyha explains. “Her learning outcomes have improved, as have her communicating skills.”
“I am very happy to see such good results from Mithona. Learning through research is especially relevant to the students' daily lives,” Samnag, a school principal, claimed. “I will continue using this approach with the teachers in my school, even though the project was phased out.”
Mithona smiles when asked about her future. “In the future, I want to be a teacher. I especially want to share knowledge with the next generation.”