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Monday, May 01, 2006


The best teacher in the world

Who is the best teacher in the world? Do you think it is someone in a university somewhere in a highly developed Western country? I don't. Can you consider the possibility that the best teacher in the world might be your mother?

All students who go to university already have knowledge. Teachers at the university are only adding to that knowledge.

When you are born, how much knowledge do you have? You know how to cry. You know how to suck. You know how to pee and poo. But do you know any words?

By time you are five you can speak and understand your first language quite well. You have a good vocabulary. You can ask for what you want. You can say what you like and don't like. You can tell little stories. You can communicate quite well in that language. You got from no words to all that in five years. You are very clever. But who was your teacher?

Probably your mother.

How did your mother teach you? She talked to you. She talked to you a lot. At first you didn't understand but she still kept talking. Eventually you could understand some of the words and you started to say them yourself. But you didn't always get them right. You had to practise many times before you could say them properly.

For my present students, their first language is Khmer. Did their mothers speak to them in English to teach them Khmer? No, if they spoke in English, my students would have learned to speak English. Their mothers taught them Khmer by speaking to them in Khmer.

When I teach English, I speak to my students in English. They won't always understand me but I'll keep talking to them. When they hear me say words they can try to say them too. They will make mistakes just as they did when they learned Khmer. But if they keep practising they will get better and better.

I want to be a good teacher. I will try to teach them English the way their mothers taught them Khmer. I hope they'll be good students and learn English the way they learned Khmer.


One of my Thai 'sons', Ton, has started a business selling Thai gift items on the internet. His site looks very professional. If you are looking for a gift that is a little different perhaps you will find something on his site. Check it out here: www.orientdecorate.com


My friend La wrote the following paragraphs to explain why Khmer New Year is celebrated in April.

In the past, people celebrated the Khmer New Year in Mikasa month (Khmer month, the same as December) because this month was considered the first month of the year. In ancient times, a year was divided into three seasons, they were cold season, dry season and rainy season. Past leaders thought that the cold season was very cold. It was considered the first season of the year, as after the night, morning is the first time of the day. Dry season was the middle of the year, like midday. Rainy season was the end of the year, like evening.

Many years later, the time of the Khmer New Year was changed (It is uncertain which king was reigning at the time.) and it was held in Chetr month (April), thinking that this month was the first time of the year. Furthermore, our ancestors thought that in December farmers were busy with farming, so they delayed the time of the Khmer New Year from December until April because by then farmers had finished harvesting rice in their fields and already stored it. Everyone was free to go to pagodas (wats), offering food to Buddhist monks and to commit good deeds for the next life and to go elsewhere for pleasure. Since then, the Khmer New Year has always started in April.

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