IMPACT 0132: A LEARNING ARK
Jacelyn Cheah, 24, is a student pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy. Having once been a preschool teacher, she currently volunteers with Colours Global, a social enterprise that seeks to improve the lives of children in third world nations. She is part of a program called Noah’s Ark, which helps kids get the education they need. She shares her experience.
“Noah’s Ark” is an educational programme for less privileged children in third world nations to see that learning can be fun and interesting.
Being a part of Noah’s Ark has challenged my creativity in creating skits and props required to engage the slum children in Batam. With language being a barrier, body language and props are a big part of the skit. This pushed me to step even further out of my comfort zone as I’m not someone who is not expressive or articulate.
Relating to those you are helping is more than learning their literal language. It’s also about learning who they are as people and how they like to be engaged. A memorable experience that taught me this was joining in on the children’s love for dancing.
The main aim of the programme we hold for the children and youth in Batam is to teach them English, as this will expand their future prospects. We help teach them the basic use of English in daily life, such as fundamentals of English and conversational English.
Planning for the course as part of our work made me appreciate the effort that teachers go through. I used to teach in preschool before university, but teaching outside of Singapore and to students whose first language is not English really challenged me to further break down the language lessons for them to learn well.
Although the pandemic hindered us from meeting in person, it made me learn to be flexible as an educator and to think out of the box. It was quite the experience to shift from “formal” activities (e.g. assessment books and textbooks) to providing language tools (e.g. creating teaching videos, activity recordings, educational apps) that could better engage them through an online format.
Being in this programme for two years has given me a real sense of achievement to know that the children always enjoy what we have planned out for them, and that the teachers we work with look forward to us coming back to run the programme again.