I actually taught today

 Posted by Deborah Ash at 1:11 am  India
Apr 072010

These books and the way in which these children learn have been hindering my creativity. I haven’t felt like class was fun or that I was teaching anything other than having the children repeat what I said. They even repeated me saying “mmmm” when I was stuck; thinking what do I do. I have to watch my vocabulary to the maximum because these children are taught to repeat every word I say. They even repeat me when they get something correct I say “very good class” then they say ‘very good class.’ I’m laughing because I can’t even explain this to the teachers because they don’t speak English. Ufffff

Today I looked in the book with some anxiety; attempting to be positive about this the next lesson was about markers, pens, pencils, crayons, etc. I know they have these materials in the class but asking for them would take the entire 30 minutes. Thank GOD I am an artist. I pulled out a paint brush, a palate of prime colors, a marker, pen, crayon, pencil, eraser and glue stick.

I set out for class not knowing how I was going to proceed but knew one thing….I know how to have fun with colors, paints, markers and crayons so I asked God to direct me so that I could teach these children something. I go to class. This is the first time I’ve taught this particular set of ? year old students. I had them sit in a circle. I pulled out a bowl and water. They repeated, ‘bowl’ and ‘water’, then I pulled out the paint brush and paint. They repeated each item. I pulled out the crayon, pen and marker…they repeated each item. I repeatedly picked up an item and asked what this is and they responded. I had to help them some but for the most part they were not robotically saying every thing I said. They answered my questions!!! Yep-Eeee! Then, I put the paint brush in the water and on the paint and said ‘water color’ and they repeated….I painted a brown tree, they repeated, I painted red flowers, they repeated, I had primary colors so I said red and yellow make ….and painted it on the page and they yelled ‘orange.’ Oh, my heart was leaping. I didn’t care what the painting looked like these children were responding and learning. I put yellow and blue together and they yelled ‘green’ and finally I put red and blue together and they yelled ‘purple.

I got the pencil, pen, crayon and marker out with the eraser. I drew something with each. First I used the pencil then I said ‘whoops, mistake’ and erased it. They were in awwww. Then I put a line with the pen and used the eraser and it didn’t work. Same with marker and crayon. Then I went back and asked does the eraser work with marker? crayon? pen? pencil? and they got the answers correct. I then showed them how a marker was stronger than a pen by the way it left a wider mark on the paper and even looked at the back of the paper where it bled through. They understood a marker is stronger than a pen. Same exercise with crayon and pencil. then I asked which was the weakest of all the items. Which of these drawing devices was weak? I took the eraser and tried to erase the marker, pen, crayon, water color paint and pencil. They said ‘the pencil is the weakest.’

Then I got the glue stick out. They repeated glue stick. I asked them if they knew what glue was and got a blank face. I took the picture and put some glue on the back of the page and put it on the wall. I said glue makes paper stick to wall and they repeated. We went over the colors of the picture; the items used as I was packing them up then I asked ‘did you enjoy this class?’ The teacher had to translate and they all said ‘yes teacher.’ I’m so happy! I taught Chinese children for the first time and it stuck with them like glue!


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