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Education majors take third trip to Cambodia to train teachers

September 16, 2013 | Irene Kanthan

Education is the gift that keeps on giving. When a team of six Education majors from Evangel University worked with young orphans in Cambodia this July, their desire and motivation to give that gift intensified.

This was the third time since 2009 that Dr. Colleen Hardy, chair of the Evangel University Education Department, has led a team to Cambodia to train teachers and work with children.

The trips came out of a need to formally train Cambodian teachers,” says Hardy. “During the Khmer Rouge regime, which lasted from 1975 to 1979, the Cambodian government abolished the education system and killed teachers. Those who were not killed fled the country.”

Dr. Bud Greve, former superintendent of Springfield Public Schools and professor emeritus at Evangel University, and his sister, Ann Greve, an Assemblies of God missionary to Cambodia, came up with the idea to partner with the university.

Prior to the trip, Hardy’s students did research to become better prepared. They read about the country and its culture and watched films and documentaries, including ones about their education system. The students even read cookbooks to learn about Cambodian food.

“They were open to new experiences,” Hardy says. “Despite the language barrier, they made an effort to communicate with their counterparts.”

On-the-job training

While there, the team focused on instructing the Cambodian teachers in classroom assessment strategies.

Hardy served as a mentor and leader on the trip, but it was the students who ultimately trained the Cambodian teachers.

“You could say they had an international, on-the-job training experience in Cambodia,” Hardy says. “Each evening, they collaborated to come up with the best way to present the information for the next day’s training.”

The Evangel students were enamored by the Cambodian people.

“They are so kind and hospitable,” Hardy says. “They are very gracious and it was humbling to be with them.”

Hardy will return to Cambodia in two years with a new group of Evangel students to continue their long-term commitment.

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