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Shekou International School Starts First TASSEL Chapter in China


Seniors Francesca Tinga and Andrew Ahn started the first and only chapter of Teaching and Sharing Skills to Enrich Lives (TASSEL) in China at Shekou International School. This organization provides English education to children in Cambodia over VSEE, a video-calling service. Originally started by Joji Tatsugi, TASSEL has spread to other countries, including Japan, Korea, the United States and thanks to the students at Shekou International School, China as well. In the summer of 2015, Francesca and Andrew learned about TASSEL from students at other international schools and were able to spread their enthusiasm and began the chapter with twelve students. The group now has sixteen members and concerned with ensuring that TASSEL continues to thrive, Francesca and Andrew have actively recruited underclassmen to continue their good work.

Secondary principal, Mike Livingston, believes that both Francesca and Andrew have both grown with TASSEL. “Our students have the opportunity to reach out to the greater community and provide a service that does some direct good to other students. This has been a great experience for Francesca and Andy as they are leaders in the community and are now leading a group of students,” explains Mike Livingston.

The TASSEL team teaches every school day beginning in December with a pair of students teaching in different time slots. These classes last approximately 40-50 minutes and they teach the children phonetics through powerpoint and different games. Using powerpoint, they read sentences and have the students repeat what they have heard. They also have a bank of games that they play which the students love. These vary from speaking games to listening games. Though some materials are supplied by TASSEL, our students have learned the power of reflection and meet before each lesson to review the effectiveness of the previous class. They have learned to adjust their teaching to meet the needs of the students. Sound familiar? Starting this year, TASSEL is also expanding to provide writing tutors to the children in Cambodia. Some of our members will be assigned to read and correct some of the Cambodian children and even the Cambodian teacher assistants’ work!

Andrew Ahn, who has plans to major in communications in the US, believes TASSEL has helped him to better express himself. “I had to reach students and that is one type of communication but I also had to learn how to encourage underclassmen to join TASSEL, which was a different type of communication than teaching.” Francesca Tinga also learned invaluable lessons. “I learned how to organize events but more importantly I discovered how to care for other people. I grew attached to the kids I taught and they helped me realize how lucky I am to be in an international school.” Francesca also plans to attend university in the US and intends to major in chemical engineering.

In addition to teaching, one of the main goals of the chapter is to fundraise for the Cambodian students and the teacher assistants in the village. The money raised is used to provide basic necessities such as food, water and medicine and to provide salaries for the teaching assistants. Last year the chapter raised just under $1,500 USD and they have used their finely honed communication skills to involve other student groups in the fundraising.

As Francesca and Andrew look toward the future and their university life, they are sad to leave TASSEL behind but feel they are leaving the SIS chapter in good hands. And as both say, they have enjoyed the experience so much they would consider opening chapters at whatever university is lucky enough to have these two extraordinary students.

Published in ISS NewsLinks: Volume XXXII Number 2

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