Oh, that was fun with about 20 kids, totally, absolutely, amazingly motivated dream students.
I go there only three times a month for an hour session. For those 3 to 5 year old kids, I may be nothing but a silly grown-up who comes from time to time to play with them. What I suspect is that those kids long for TLC more than other kids with attention from their mum all day long. Their mums are all working mums and they spend most of their early childhood days at the nursery school. Some of them have quality time with their mums I am sure. But I also know how tired those working mums would be at home after work and perhaps they would fall asleep while they read books for the little ones. Their mums can get really cranky from time to time without no rational reasons. Their mums could be hysterical and very unpleasant to be around. Been there, done that! I remember I tried to stay awake for my daughter and read more storybooks with her but couldn't help falling asleep. Guess what she did. She let me sleep when I really needed a good sleep. She learned how to shut herself up when I was in a cranky mood. She learned how to tuck herself in the bed and make herself sleep at very young age. I assume those kids have those nights and they definitely deserve absolute fun time with a bit of crazy mum like myself.
When I was asked to teach English at the school, the principal said to me to play with them, using English. She also said she didn't expect them to speak English fluently with only an hour and three time a month exposure to English. What she expected me to do is to show and share the joy of leaning the new language. She also let me decide what and how we learn English together. What a dream job! I really truly appreciate and enjoy time with kids.
Yesterday I was thinking how I feel so motivated there.
1 I got motivated students.
2 I got welcoming and supportive teachers.
3 I got freedom to do the best I can.
4 I got a spacious, clean and equipped classroom.
5 I got some events to look forward.
When I started working/ playing there, I had a bit of confusing message from a teacher with her unfriendly tone of voice and body language. I assumed she was not so excited about the change but now I realized she had no idea what to do. She has been so supportive to provide the safest and best environment for learning.
In the last class, I introduced a new song from Happy Vally CD using gestures and facial expressions to convey the meanings of emotions in the song such as happy and grumpy. They love to express grumpiness with the danceable tune. I didn't need the doughnut perspective because the class itself is a whole cake! But the question is if I was careful enough when I give them praise. Obviously I wasn't because I don't quite recall what I said much. I remember the smily and cute faces and little hands in the air to get my attention. "Marvelous!""Fantastic!"might have been what I said to them. ah...much more descriptive praise should be given but those are absolutely sincere comments.
According to one of the research papers I read yesterday, a praise might stimulate intrisic motivation of children if it is perceived as sincere message by the recipient who has established self-efficacy with specific and doable standards and expectation. On top of that, a trusting relationship between the praiser and the recipient is essential. And of course, there might be more variables such as age, gender, culture and personality to consider. But the good news is that younger kids may not be so sensitive to words so much and perceive a praise as a motivator.
I truly hope I won't say anything or do to demotivate those beautiful kids. That is the only fear I have in the class. Gotta learn more!!!!