The method of teaching used by our volunteers should make learning, and teaching, a much simpler and easier process - ideal for children learning their 3rd or 4th language, and for volunteers who often do not have any teaching experience. The following notes are important for all future volunteers, and we hope that you will prepare for your stay at Mirror by thoroughly studying this section.

It is important to note that we rely solely on donations of resources for teaching. If volunteers can bring resources with them, or buy them locally, this is very helpful. If photocopies are wanted for teaching, we ask that volunteers pay for these copies themselves, as the fee paid does not cover extras such as this. It is also much more fun to make/draw/paint your own resources rather than photocopy them.


Classrooms are set up with 5 Learning Corners:

  • Practical
  • Sensorial
  • Language
  • Mathematics
  • Culture
  1. Usually practical and sensorial activities are used to introduce new language.
  2. Always use appropriate materials to help you teach your topic.

Things that help kids learn quickly: stories, songs, games, rhymes, self expression.

  • Stories
  • Stories use actions, pictures, puppets. Give the book to the kids. Discuss each bit. Just read short stories or break up longer ones into small chunks over a number of days.
  • Story corner should have cushions and be attractively displayed.


  • Songs use actions. Don't rush! Make proper sounds.

Example "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes", get them to say each word correctly first before attempting to sing the song.

Down in the jungle,
where nobody goes,
washing his clothes.
With a bang!, a bang!
A wooky, wooky,
A bang! A bang!
A wooky, wooky,
That's the way he washes his clothes

  • Use short songs and use them to teach English.

Another example of a song: Twinkle twinkle, little star.


  • Silent Game
  • Passing the ball around and remembering what everyone likes.
  1. Teachers use a bell as a signal for the kids to stop talking and activity and get ready to start or listen. This is to avoid yelling at the kids to be quiet. We could also use a whistle or clapping hands.

Self expression

eg "What did you do on the weekend?" The child answers and the teacher corrects the English. For example the student says "Go to zoo". Teacher says "I went to the zoo."

  • Don't say "no!" or "not correct", but just help and encourage the student.
  • During self expression all the students learn from each other. Maybe it would be good to divide up into smaller groups during this.
  • Don't try to explain too much, just simply correct the English and move on.


  • Kids can draw stories and the teacher can use that to help the child speak and write sentences.

Making things from plasticine

In class, usually the teacher just teaches to one student at a time. The other students learn at their own pace with the various teaching aids available.

Preparation, observation

  • Use the materials and please put them back in their correct place.
  • IMPORTANT! the teacher must prepare and practice before teaching.
  • What the child cannot do, observe that and record it. Therefore have a notebook and pen handy.

Classes use a "3 period lesson." That means there are 3 stages to each lesson.

  • Please use this method and do the same each lesson.
  • Teach 1 sound at a time
  • Put all 3 sounds together and ask the student to do various tasks with the sounds in any order
  • Confirm one sound at a time.

So basically the 3 stages are:

  1. You teach
  2. The student does
  3. Confirmation of the student's knowledge.

The way teaching materials are carried/placed/kept is important. Treat the teaching materials with great respect and carry them with two hands and place them down gently. Put them back where they belong when you are finished in a delicate manner. In this way, via example, you will show the children to respect the learning materials. There is only one of each teaching aid in each class, so take care of them. This also helps the children to learn to be patient and share.

Teach the alphabet sounds, not ABC!

26 sounds. 5 are vowel sounds (in a different colour, usually blue)(the consonants are usually in pink).
a = ah
b = bah
c = kah
d = dah
e = eh
I = ee
k = ckeh
o = oh
q = kuah
u = uh
x = ks

ah, ah - ah, ah, ah ah, ah ah, ah, ah
ah, ah ah, ah, ah
Singing the song of ah sound.

"I spy with my little eye, something beginning with r"
Kids can say something and you can check their pronounciation.

When teaching sounds, please teach these separately as they sound similar:

  • b,d,p. z,s l,r c,k

Start teaching with 3 letter words that they can sound out:

Hat, ant, jug, pat, cob, hot, lid, hen, peg, sun, pen, van, pig, ten, pot, dog, and, map, box, bad, jet, leg, mat, pin, yes, pan, cat, fat, red, bug, bin, no, gum, bed, yak, sat, bag, bat, ask, bus.

  • Later can teach complex vowels: eg, ey, ay, oy, ea.
  • Play Chinese Whispers / Broken telephone

Sight words

These are words that cannot be sounded out so far, but they are important in constructing sentences. Eg: a, the, then, but, after, before, this, that, with, out, of, over, under, mother, father, when, what, little, was, my, be, he, she.

So teach these words as sight words - words that the kids can recognize and speak when they see them. Once you have taught some of these words you can start contstructing phrases and then sentences.


When you want to start teaching sentences, you can teach capitals and ABC sounds. But teach them out of sequence. And when you teach that a capital letter starts a sentence also teach that a full stop completes it.


Going quickly around the circle, teacher starts with by saying a fruit, eg "apple". Next child says another fruit and the so on until someone cannot think of a fruit, they can then say something else, eg "car" and then the next child says another form of transport, and so on.

  • Can use transport, animals, fruit, body parts, family, colours, stationery,!

Another game

Give some people pieces of paper. They start drawing a picture or writing a story. After 1 minute, get them to pass the paper to the next person who continues. After about 8 minutes, stop and see what the stories or pictures look like. Get the kids to describe them.

  • Capital letters are used to start a sentence, and for the 1st letter of a name of a person, place or organisation.
  • Full stops end a sentence.
  • Commas, give a pause during a sentence.

Here are some example sentences the kids could read and write if you have taught them the above:

  • The sun is hot.
  • The fat cat is wet.
  • The man is sad.
  • A fat cat sat in the red box.
  • The man has a dog, a cat, a pig and a yak.

You could make a story and make a book. Get the kids to read it.

Thailand Volunteer! - by The Mirror Foundation