English Language Fellows Richard Silberg and Sureiana Binti Haji Yahmad, along with Khmer teacher Yong Kimyi, organized a community meeting for local English Language Teachers, with the intent to form a Community of Practice, to share experiences, knowledge and resources about challenges they face as English Language Teachers in Cambodia. Inspired by the fact that many teachers in Kampong Cham had no collegial interaction, this teaching community was formed in order to facilitate teachers getting to know each other across school and grade boundaries. In doing so, the goal is that sharing common problems and practices will serve a teaching resource for all those involved and a mechanism for ongoing professional development within the community.
Twenty Two teachers representing twelve different schools ranging from pre-school to university, as well as a broad range of experience levels from first year to 30 year veterans, came together for the initial 2 hour gathering. Richard led the group in creating a group resume through a “foldable” activity with the categories of the school and courses they teach, their own educational background and training, the things they are good at in the classroom and something they enjoy doing outside of school. After sharing these Sureiana led the group in an activity designed to get at problems faced in the classroom that they want to address in some way through this new community of practice. Moving forward to tackle these problems, this community will support each other using the resources of the group and the materials available through the American English website.