by Johanna, Co-Director, IHF Bali
We were lucky to have friend and teacher-by-trade, Vanessa, help us out with a few tips and tricks in dynamic and interactive teaching strategies with our kids at the IHF Bali center. Vanessa studied teaching English as a second language (ESL) in China and specializes in animating disengaged children in Australia. Since the children at IHF Bali are certainly not disengaged, Vanessa and her active learning demonstrations were veritable hits.
Although some of the suggestions Vanessa made to our Directors and volunteers may have seemed logical, we were surprised at how quickly and completely her strategies were able to captivate – and keep – the children’s attention. And we were made aware of how easy it is to adopt traditional (and sometimes lackluster) teaching methods and positions because they are easiest.
Much of the two days of activity learning involved playing, reinforcement through interaction and dialogue, and abandoning the classic model of seated students, replacing them with moving, gesturing, laughing, engaged individuals… all the while following the curriculum.
We were all indeed surprised at how much the children retained and actually comprehended, reinforcing that while a curriculum is pivotal to the success of ongoing and cumulative learning, the inclusive and interactive delivery is likewise critical.
If I could summarize in a few words: the exercise was participatory, engaging, playful, and extremely effective. Our volunteers were keen to integrate elements into their upcoming lessons; after seeing such good results, we were all enthusiastic to keep the momentum going.
A big thanks to Vanessa for her energy, time, expertise, and enthusiasm!