A bunch of giggles.
A dash of gimmicks.
A pinch of squealing.
A handful of laughter.
And a few scoops of mischiefs.
Stir them up. And add some zest of zeal. And you are almost ready with a bunch of Ved-Varun-Chellen in class. These encapsulated the onset of my journey as a volunteer at ELI Corps Program in Riviere Du Rempart. Even though I conduct classes once a week at the Center, this little time that I spend is ample to distract me from the daily hectic life, instantly delving me into the lively world of kids. It is sort of an outlet for my craving of art and craft and thereby popping the child out of me.
To spend hours at school, to dig through texts, words and books undeniably drain a child. Consequently, retaining them in a similar setting would merely stifle them rather than making them do something constructive. I thus try to come up with as much change as possible during Friday classes. Otherwise, the students would come to the center with their after-school bloated faces and might choke should they stay any minute longer. They would long to break free and burst into the big yard as if it is begging them to come play. Indeed, this was a striking aspect of my first day at ELI with the kids sprinting about, shoeless, leaping over rocks, climbing on trees and eventually entering class with mud splatters on their feet and school uniforms. I even remember their faces brighten up when I once organized a hunting activity in the yard.
It’s Friday after all – A few hours to go before the weekend and our students are so enthusiastic!
That’s why I came up with the idea of incorporating art classes with English. Allowing the students to delve into some craft works and painting is undoubtedly a great outlet to explore their creativity. And I so love it when their eyes goggle with amazement when I teach them fun art techniques. I then hop to small extracts of comprehension based on the theme of the art classes, prompting them to read out loud, understand some English words, and answer basic comprehension style questions, and all these whilst subtly involving them into penmanship practices. But these do not sum up my classes yet! I equally allow them to unleash themselves through learning games and applications, triggering their enthusiasm to learn even more. It’s indeed a creative learning platform for the ELI kids!
Although lesson plans are made beforehand, I would not dare expect a class to turn out the way I anticipated because there are no edges, borders, boundaries and limits to a child’s energetic mischiefs. There will undeniably be trivial combats, angry grumbling and grumpy faces. But they would eventually end up indulging each other like siblings anyway. When they are not fighting, there will be clattering of voices, shrieks and mere murmuring. No wonder, a great dose of patience, coupled with the love of teaching is undeniably needed in order to properly channel the children. But no matter how the children are, they definitely bring tons of smiles to my face.
Joining the ELI has indeed been one of the greatest experiences I’ve had. And this is only the beginning…