Education without a wall: A lesson from a first-grader class
After passing my oral examination on Monday, I did what I would like to do for a long long time; volunteering in my son's class. My wife and I had signed up for this a month before.... Actually we felt a little bit guilty that we'd never volunteered in my son's class since he'd been in school. So all of us were excited.
On Tuesday, my son and his classmates would have their field trip to a national park for the whole day. So my wife and I woke up early to prepare lunch for everyone.... It was fried pork with sticky rice, my son's most favorite food...
We dropped him at his school, and met with his teacher briefly to get some info about where would we meet with the group in the national park.
We drove to the park and waited for the kids at the visitor center... When they arrived, we drove our car following the school bus to their "classroom".
It was a remote place in the park which also was a hiking trail. At the site, there were 4 more park rangers waiting for the group... The 60 first graders were divided into 4 smaller groups, each group would rotate from "one class" to another.
The teacher in each station was the park rangers assisting by school teachers and volunteers. All of the volunteers were grandparents or parents of the children--- My wife and I included....
The ideas of the classes were to point out about relationship between living organisms in a foodchain (or cycle of life)... Using examples of the ecosystem in the park to encourage learning and curiousity of the children, the group and the teacher walked through the hiking trail looking for "lessons and teaching material"....
"Teaching material" included variety kinds of poop (shit) which had its technical term as scat... There were lots of scat all along the trail... Cayote's, elk's, deer's and so on...
Of course, all of them had their own characteristics. The teacher would describe what they had seen and foretold that that particular animal was in good health or not.
Stopping from time to time, they also learned about how to prepare themselves for hiking. What tools and stuffs they should be preparing before going for a hiking. What were the reasons why those stuffs should be taken along?
Lastly, they learned about interconnection between lives in the park... How each species could sustain others and how we, humans, could live sustainably with them.
After that we had a lunch break and drove back to our city. The whole trip took around 5-6 hours. The kids looked very happy and enthusiastic about what they saw, learned and experienced by actually watching and being taught by real specimens, teaching material and people who really knew about that...
For me, I learn something about a classroom which is not necessarily to have books or a wall... Just having knowledgeble people and their real working environments, these would be far more effective to stir curiosity from the students than those conventional books, humdruming disciplined teachers and a blackboard.
================================= Note: My life has been intertwined with works and many others. New responsibility has emerged, resulting less and less time for my ordinary life. Although, a love to write is still intact... But having less time is related to having less imagination.... Therefore, I could not come up with new writings for quite some times.
It might be a good time for me to leave this forum for moment.... Please take it as Mr. A.T. is having a sabbactatical leave or something like that....
As noted above, my love to write is still the same... and will not be changed. Sometimes somehow, I hope I could come back and give some thoughts in this blog once more.
Cheers, Mr. A.T. June 6th, 2008
My pen-name in Pantip is amatuer translator. Actually, I'm a lousy translator with lame translation. My pen-name is somewhat misleading, I have no background in linguistics what-so-ever. Anyway I love to read, write and communicate with people...
Reading is my most favorite hobby. I read everything from shopping bags to articles in theoretical physics. I do research and teaching for my living. So, reading, writing, thinking and doing research works are my everyday routine.
I would like to define myself as a person who is accepting new ideas and adopting those into my way of life.
I believe in power of knowledge/education. I think every society can be a better society with knowledge. Ignorance can be dispelled by it. Humanity can live sustainably and harmoniously with each other along with its biosphere with understandings in the nature surrounding it.
Apart from my philosophical thoughts reflecting who I am, I can tell you something I like or love in particular;
I love dogs.... Particularly, labradore retrievers.... One day, I would like to spend my time and life with them as a big part of my family.
Zhuge Liang is my hero. With his wisdom and faithfulness, he led a tiny army to a mighty and formidable kingdom. He left his humble residence with a hope to come back. But, sadly, he had never returned and died far far away from home in a horse carriage in a battle field. If I could choose where I would, I would say where-ever my lovely wife was nearby.
I value happiness and my family as my first priority. My profession and my philosophy come in the second. Pursuit in wealth has never been in my desire.
I'm glad to be your friend, and look forward to seeing you around krub.