‘Let’s make masks’ said one of my team over breakfast dosas. Having worked with numerous children in the past I knew just how messy mask making with up to 30 under ten year old children could become. I was wary, i mean for someone who is incredibly risk averse in my personal life, i tend to ramp it up to extremes when at work. When I saw the contents of the newly replenished craft box which was overflowing with feathers, glitter, sequins, coloured paper, pens and a set of carefully cut out out templates later in the day, deep down I just prayed it worked. That the boisterous boys from the orphanage we work with would keep the sequins on the table… but more so that they would embrace the idea of mask making over football.
It was a situation like many recently where I was so glad my doubts were unfounded. Not only did the boys LOVE the mask making; apart from the glitter which got everywhere, I mean it’s glitter, they treated the equipment with utmost respect and we even came back with all of the lids for the glue! The glitter, as with anyone was a favourite material, however the most coveted was the bag of googly eyes. THEY WENT INSANE! Three days after mask making, the little fellow below was doing a plasticine session and whipped out a googley from his pocket (one that the day before had been stuck to his forehead)
It’s one of the reasons I love teaching abroad, even though in this case I’m not teaching; simply overviewing the teaching of others. In general, particularly in the East, students have such respect for the education system the behaviour means you can do activities that in the west would potentially collapse.
Take the 7 year old girls who are learning English through yoga poses, a short term program that arose through a simple warm down, relaxing activity and has lead to speaking, reading, writing and drawing activities all within the single topic.
And this week, we have the career chemist on a year long global travel expedition who is bringing simple yet effective science experiments to a classroom of six year olds…the kids loved it, so much that several ended up covered in salt water.
It’s the opportunity to get involved in activities they wouldn’t normally get to do and the smiles on the faces of those teaching alongside the kids that make it so brilliant to be involved… even their usual class teachers have been sticking around to have a go!