Sunday, February 19, 2006

Teaching Exceptional Children could be quite a Responsibility

Few weeks ago I had my first class with the children on the Friday just before Chinese New Year, and it is totally chaotic. Since this is the first time, I have totally no idea what to teach the kids. Luckily I picked up 2 educational CDs from MPH sometime ago, thus I have something to start with and observe from there. And having a PlayStation party for the children before their holiday break does not help my quest.

Things are difficult as there is only 1 computer with 9 children around. While I am showing one child how to use the software, some children became very restless (starts making noise, jumping around and disturbs other kids). Some children are more aggressive or hyper active, or too engrossed with the software, and it take quite some control and convincing to persuade them to let other children to have their chance as well. Some are too afraid to try to use the computer; some can’t concentrate; some are too enthusiastic; while some do exceptionally well. I finally understand every kid is different in its very sense. In order to teach them effectively, I would need to understand them properly and cater for them individually. I am used to developing customized software, but this is the first time I am doing customised syllabus and teaching.

I want the second class to be more educational, but equally fun as well. I bring a typing game along, to get the kids familiar with the keyboard and the computer as well. But the game is a bit too fast paced, some got intimidated by the speed, while many couldn’t even complete the first level. Besides, the PlayStation party is still on as the kids got restless while waiting for their turn to use the computer. Education Games and PlayStation shouldn’t mix, as the former will loose out flat in getting the children’s attention.

The 3rd class had gotten more challenging, as I need to create some works and projects to do. I would prefer some deliverables, as it would make the work more interesting and satisfying with an end product. Yet, I want to make it simple and fun. Someone kinda gave me an idea, and the idea turned into card making. Using Photoshop seems too complicated, and PowerPoint seems to be able to do the work just fine. I download some fonts and clip arts just to make the process more interesting. The idea turns out pretty alright for the first class, and it would take 20-30 minutes for a kid to finish their masterpiece, thus I can teach five of them within 2 hours. Luckily we have a colour printer, so that they can feel their creation. Of course, some children are less enthusiastic about their work, but I guess most of them enjoy it.

I am not sure how leaning computer can improve their life, but I would like to create as much fun while getting them to try new stuffs, and also to create something at the end of the day. Give me strength and idea to continue with my effort, and don’t turn me into a lazy and boring teacher who just doesn’t care. If I am to do it, I want to give the most creativity I can offer to make the learning more effective and interesting.

Perhaps typing a fairytale story for next week’s project.

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