Thursday, September 2, 2010

teaching by translator

One morning in the village we had the opportunity to visit the kindergarten, and to present a lesson to the class. The objective of this kindergarten is to prepare the students to enter a more traditional Filipino classroom where their own dialect will not be spoken, but instead either Visayan, Tagalog or English. So the teacher works to increase their knowledge of these languages.

We came prepared with lessons on the five senses that God has blessed us with, and how we can use all of them to enjoy the world God has made. When we arrived, the children were in awe. Some of them were very timid and scared of us. One little boy wouldn't even come in at first, but stood outside the door crying. It made us wonder what kinds of things they imagine must be true about Americanos!

After the class did their routine exercises, sang their morning songs,

and took attendance,

we began our lessons, with the teacher acting as translator.
(That was a challenge! Much harder than I imagined it would be. We were able to use a little of our Visayan, and I think they understood, but it was a strange experience to have to rely on someone else to communicate my thoughts! The words may have all been right, but the tone, the expressions, the emphasis that are all so important in effective teaching are SO hard to capture via translator.)

We had the students reach into paper bags to use their sense of touch to figure out what was inside,

They drew pictures of what they like to look at,
and we read the simple story of the 5 Little Monkeys who jumped on the bed to talk about our sense of hearing, and the need to use it wisely to obey our parents to help us stay out of trouble.
They had fun singing the song with us, too - jumping up and down with the little monkeys!

We tasted sour lemons and sweet chocolate bars when we talked about our sense of taste, and we made tissue paper flowers to take home to their mommys to celebrate our sense of smell.

By the time we were done, they had warmed up to us so much. Here's Amy next to the little boy who began the day with tears! And by the next day he was cheerfully playing ball with us outside.

In fact, early the next morning, before school began, a group of them gathered at "E's" house, agonizingly curious about this new family.
We would wave to them through the window, and they'd run off giggling.
Then we found an old teddy bear in the house, and Amy began using it as a puppet.
They were enchanted!

When they seemed more comfortable, I grabbed a beach ball we had brought along and took it out to play with them. What a bunch of fun they were!

I'm afraid I made them late for school, but no one seemed to mind much.
I finally suggested that we walk there together, and off we went!

These are children who live in pretty humble surroundings.
Their joys are simple, and it doesn't take a great deal to make them very happy.
We've probably learned more from them than they from us.

"One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God."

-C.S. Lewis


Elysa said...

Thanks for sharing this! I snagged that Lewis quote for my blog.

us5 said...

hi Elysa! it's fun to see you here! Lewis is eminently quotable. :grin: