Last week was Naadam, a three day festival in which the three manly games of Mongolia are celebrated and contested. Those are archery, horse-racing, and wrestling. We didn't get along to see anything, partly because we don't like crowds, but mostly because we (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to teach English over this period. We did, perchance, watch the wrestling final on tv in a local Mongolian diner, wherein a new national champion emerged.
22 Korean students, mostly 17-18 year olds, came to Mongolia for a 10 day summer English-language camp. They arrived sometime around midnight on a Tuesday night, and had to front up for classes with us the next day at 9am. Poor things! It didn't particularly help that we're not trained English teachers, and the help we received in the lead up was not overwhelming.
But God is good, and takes care of all such things in his own good way, and things went much better than they might otherwise have. We had 4 days teaching 2 hours a day, trying to encourage these students to speak English. From the start it was hard to gauge exactly how much English they knew, and our instructions were to focus on speaking practice.
Seumas' class ended up doing a lot of work with sign language, thanks to a wonderful technique called Where are you keys? which he will happily teach you anytime. There's a short video below of what it looks like in action.
Rachel took the class of slightly more advanced (or maybe just more confident and outspoken?) students, which worked out well for everybody. They learnt idioms, played games, and even had some phonetics (thanks to Rachel's ongoing Master of Applied Linguistics).
Even with our rough pastiche of teaching techniques, the students seemed to have a good time, and they also got to see all sorts of Mongolian things in their non-class times. We turned up on their last day again for a certificate ceremony, a curious mix of Korean formalism and disorganisation, and enjoyed watching a slideshow of all their fun.
We're not crying out to be English language teachers, but it was nice to help out and we're glad for the ride.
2 more weeks of Mongolian class for us and then holidays in August...