WWC teaches English in Borneo
By: Kristi Spurgeon
A group of Walla Walla College students and faculty have found a personal mission in Sabah, a small country on the island of Borneo.
<- Back to: News
It started when Tammy Randolph, assistant professor of education, met with a leader of the Southeast Asia Union Mission of Seventh-day Adventists and heard about the urgent need for English language teachers and materials in Borneo. As an educator, Randolph was touched by the need – and hatched a plan for a classroom service project.
The curriculum librarian for the School of Education and Psychology, Franice Carney Stirling, was writing a children’s book called “T.J.’s Week,” a story about her daughter’s weekly activities. Stirling, Randolph, and 13 students in Randolph’s applied strategies education classes developed a curriculum plan to accompany the picture book, designed to encourage children to learn English by responding to the theme of the book.
The book and curriculum received overwhelming support in Sabah and WWC was asked to come train teachers to use it effectively. The training group included Randolph; Angie Roberts, associate professor of psychology; Kuyler Lang, a master of education student; and Jody Foster, a 2005 theology graduate.
Traveling with 70 pounds each of books, they spent nine days in Sabah, where they visited seven of the 15 Adventist schools, held training seminars for the teachers, and taught English to the children. They also presented the schools with new and used books for their libraries, including several sets of audio recordings and matching text which they were able to produce with permission of the book’s publishers.
“The children need every chance they can get to catch up on literacy so they can succeed in this information world,” says Randolph. “They were so happy to see us and smiled all the time. I feel such a burden to help them”
Randolph hopes to continue in a relationship with the schools in Sabah, called “The Land Below the Wind,” both personally and through the educational system. The schools there need English-speaking teachers, and resources such as storybooks, textbooks, audio stories, and music books and instruments. To offer your support to Sabah, contact Tammy Randolph at (509) 527-2940.