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Youth Educating Youth School

Service Learning at VIS

Have you ever wondered why there are so many Laos students on the VIS Campus on Saturday mornings? Youth Educating Youth School (YEYS) is a program that is run by the Secondary Students at VIS. This is a partnership with the local primary school called Ban Saphanthong Tai. YEYS was started in 2013 and has developed into a completely student-led program. The program typically hosts approximately 50 – 60 Sister School students from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm one to two Saturdays a month during the school year. This year’s student leaders are Angie (Gr 11), Diana (Gr 11) and Tora (Gr 12).

How it Works

In the language of service learning, this is called Direct Service. The student leaders at VIS directly contact the teaching staff, meet with them to determine needs and set dates for the year. Once the needs are established and the calendar set, the student leaders begin to organize their plan of action with all of the student members of this program.

VIS student teams determine the subjects of interest and research materials and methods to present this to the Sister School. The ages of the students are from EY to Grade 5, therefore they must skill themselves in how to teach a subject to students who speak mainly Laos. The students currently teach English, Math, Art, and PE in a rotation during the three hour time period. There are approx. 20 VIS student volunteers on a given Saturday.

While the Sister School students are with the VIS students, the Sister School teachers are with our teachers. Lara Stuart, Secondary SEN teacher and Bounlerth Yilachay, Secondary Laos teacher, coordinate the materials to be taught and lesson plan for this part of the program. In addition, teachers can sign up to volunteer one or more times for the year.

In addition to teaching, the VIS student leaders of this program arrange the buses to pick up students, arrange and reserve all classrooms, bake snacks to serve the students at break-time and work with the canteen to provide lunch for everyone involved. The lunchtime soup is a more relaxed time for our students to enjoy a social time with their Sister School students, as well as for the local teachers to interact with the VIS teachers.

The program is a real win-win. Our students develop teaching and childcare skills, share their academic knowledge, pick up some Laos language and form community friendships. Ban Saphanthong Tai students have opportunities to learn in a different context, can practice English and forge some friendship/mentorship relationships with the VIS students.