Friday, 11 May 2012

Teamwork 9

The class names in schools here are often taken from the school values - commitment, respect, self-discipline, care, teamwork.  This often provides some unintended satire.

As well as the value they'll have a number. The students are streamed early. The brightest are put in class number one and so it descends down through the ranks of intelligence and behaviour.

I've just finished ten weeks teaching the legend, Teamwork nine.  You'll have worked out by now that Teamwork Nine weren't that great at teamwork.  A few weeks into teaching them I lost my voice, probably from shouting at them to be quiet.

Now shouting is never a good thing. It's a trap you fall into. It feels like a quick way to get their attention so you can tell them what you want to do. Most of the time it's easy not to. You put in place a system early on. 'When I want you to be quiet I will put my finger on my lips and count.' Or sometimes I'll clap a rhythm. Most frequently used in primary schools here is 'one silent clap.' It's like magic. You say one silent clap and all the little crazy people stop, clap, put their fingers on their lips and say 'shhh'.

Not Teamwork nine. Oh no. However, that lesson when I'd lost my voice was a turning voice. I went in and croaked at them that they were going to have to be good because I couldn't talk. I got someone to take the register for me (it turns out this is cat nip for small children). I got different children to repeat what I wanted them to do. Sometimes I just wrote 'silence' on the whiteboard.

Though nothing ever really makes Teamwork Nine completely silent this lesson was quite fun for all of us and made me remember that shouting is never, ever the way to go. I decided to accept the noise level and go a different route.

So it's been a noisy few weeks but we had fun. It took them an extremely long time to grasp the rules of zip zap boing (or anything in fact) but having understood it they LOVED it. And Splat.

At the end of each course we give out feedback forms. Usually they don't tend to write comments. But not Teamwork Nine. Oh no. They commented.

Here are a choice selection....

I would like it because it is fun and exciting.

It is very fun.

The teacher is excellent for us.

I think I should play and learn more games.

I hope that my speech and drama will be very fun.

I could learn more about this.

The instructor is kind and friendly.

I want more there are games activieties and funthing.

I think this programme is better than the rest.

The teacher must waste her voice because many of our friends talk.

I want more speech and drama it is because it is very fan.

The teacher is nice and fun.

The teacher is very nice and she helps us not to be so shy she is a helpful teacher and sometimes when we are discussing she will help us

I hope that my speech and drama

I learn more.

I would like more lessons of this it will be fun. Danish is very irritating he does not have any proof or evidence.

It helps me to make friends and helping my mother.

And in the end I was very sad to say goodbye to Teamwork Nine.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Vesak Day

It took a bit of nifty googling to find out what this massively important religious festival was all about. It's Buddha's naming day. The official date shifts a bit, but always lands in May. And, more importantly it provides a day off. Except it landed on Saturday this year, so no day off for me.

Here are some pictures and videos from out and about in Singapore last Saturday.

An enormous tent was constructed on the patch of grass in front of the train station  and this was what we found inside...

At the temple in Chinatown


I don't know how, but I forgot 'can' or 'ken' in my introduction to Singlish. 'Can' is probably the most useful word you can learn. It's basically an abbreviation. Instead of saying  (as I the ever verbose do) for example to a taxi driver
"excuse me would it be possible to do stop over on the left there? I'd be ever so grateful".
you could say
"Stop here. Can?"

You could also use it like this. For example if asked:
"Laura, can you teach a class of overexcited seven year olds drama?"
I could reply
Then if additionally asked
"And are you able to climb an imaginary wall?"
I could say
"Also can".

See. Very simple. Very useful. Can. Also Can. My gift to you this Friday.