Helping Young People Learn
Taking part in youth club activities has provided me a rich experience, which includes finding a way to help and teach the young. Whenever we visit a community, we make it a point to dress up casually so we can relate easily with people, and give them the idea that we have a lot in common. This allows them to feel comfortable to share their ideas and feelings with us, making us understand their situation more vividly. Most of the communities we visit are composed of poor families, so they normally expect us to give them food, clothing, and toys for the kids.
Aside from the material things, part of our program also provides tutorial sessions for children to help in their studies, and give them an idea of how they can contribute to the family’s financial resources. Particularly, I was assigned to tutor a group of young people about the age of thirteen. The teenagers were not classmates in school, but they belonged to only one level, thus their lessons were the same.
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Our regular session consisted of discussing topics in Science and Social Studies, and answering Math problems. 1.
As we progressed with our tutorial sessions, we became close, and eventually, they shared with me their experiences in school and at home. I learned that one of them was suffering in class because of the family’s financial constraints. There were times when her parents did not have enough money to finance her projects in school, or provide her everyday meal allowance. Given this situation, I helped the child find other ways to do her projects. For example, when they were asked to make a calendar in their Art subject, I taught her how to use recyclable materials such as colored paper cups, old magazines, and empty snack foils.
In the next project that she did, I noted that she used this kind of materials and accomplished the project on her own using other recycled resources. Based on this, I felt that the girl learned something from me regarding cost cutting when accomplishing school projects. Teaching someone to be resourceful is important to enhance creativity as well. According to Vaune Ainsworth-Land (1982), there are four categories of a process and its product. The first category operates out of necessity. In my experience, we see that we were able to come up with a good output out of the need to make a project at a low cost.
In Maslow’s, this category is a primary one, as it centralizes on the idea of materialistic need. The second category involves the analytic process. Referring back to our experience, the child found out that she could do a lot of things even without spending, and she would receive a better grade by recycling materials. In behaviorist theories, this explains the operant response in which the individual is rewarded for a good behavior. The third category involves synthesizing and innovation.
As mentioned above, the child learned to accomplish projects using the same kind of material, thus she was able to apply her knowledge in other things. This behavior represents Koestler’s bisociation, because the child was able to apply the learned concept to different aspects. The fourth category is “the ultimate form of relatedness,” (Ainsworth-Land, 1982) in which the person is seen to attain a “transformed consciousness. ” Applying this to the situation, the child that we referred to would later attain this, when she continues to apply her knowledge into practical terms.
Another student that I tutored had difficulty in solving word problems in Math. Based on his behavior, I recognized that his problem aroused from not having enough patience to comprehend items in problem solving. Apparently, reading problems confused and bored him the moment they appeared. To address this problem, I challenged him to imagine what was being described in one of their math problems, and illustrate what he understood in it. It showed that the boy understood the problem completely after illustrating it, and he was able to solve the problem after that.
The theory of Situated Learning (1988) by J. Lave explains that a child can learn easily when the context and activity are based on his own experience. To help the child in problem solving, what I did was to situate him in the activity, and made him a part of the situation by asking him to illustrate based on his background of the problem. Particularly, I let him draw the situation and did not dictate what was conveyed. The activity made the child express himself better, which also led to motivate him to come up with the correct answer.
Other theorists such as Brown, Collins & Duguid (1989) emphasized active perception over concepts and representation. Thus, by illustrating, the child gained an active perception of what was presented in the problem. The other boy that I handled had problems with his classmates who bullied him. Due to what his classmates did to him, he felt reluctant to go to school, and pretended to be sick at times. During our session, I asked him first what the other boys told him, and why they called him with nasty words. The boy said that the other boys called him names and wrote on his notebook.
I felt the boy’s pain as he told me about the hostilities of his classmates, so right away, I informed his mother of the situation, and advised her to consult with the classroom adviser or the guidance counselor in the school. I believe that this should be handled by authorities in the school as other students were involved. Through reporting to the teacher and school counselor, the boys were reprimanded of their teasing, and my friend felt better. Later on, he felt more comfortable going to school because the other boys already stopped teasing him.
A lot of teenagers undergo this stage when their peers bullied them for nothing. In these cases, the victim tries to keep the situation to himself because he is afraid to create a scenario in class, or is threatened by his peers. According to Maslow’s theory of Motivation and Personality (1954), a person is driven by both internal and external factors. In addition, one’s motivation is dominated by his specific needs. In the boy’s situation, we can identify his need for belongingness as the factor that made him dissatisfied with school.
Because this need was not realized, the boy felt reluctant to go to school, thus the motivation to go to school was associated with his need for friends and companionship. When the need was addressed, the barrier to learning also collapsed. 2. Aside from tutoring students in their academic subjects, I also told them stories to teach values like friendship, honesty, and service to others. In one session, I told them a fable, in which a rabbit sacrificed for another animal. Having told the story, I challenged them to do something similar to what the main character did, and tell their stories next time.
Amazingly, one of the children took my challenge seriously, and did what I told them. He narrated to us how he helped a man he saw on the street by sharing him some food, and giving him medicine to heal the man’s wound. In telling this story, the boy expressed how it felt good to do such kindness, and how the man thanked him with a smile. He professed that he will do this again once he sees another person needing his help. Just like the character in the story, he said that the kindness he showed the man will go a long way because by helping, he brought hope to the man, and made him feel loved.
The boy added that if other people would do the same, no man will by lying cold on the streets. The words the boy uttered reflected his own realization based on experience. Those words also reminded me of the Good Samaritan, who helped an ill man lying in the cold. The experience of the boy reminded all of us, especially me, of our responsibility to others, especially the needy. With such good Samaritans like the boy, we can see hope in the next generation. 3. The success of a team depends on the performance of each member’s role.
Applying Meredith Belbin’s (1981) Nine Roles in Team Management, I served as the “specialist” in the tutorial session for teenagers, teaching them how to use the Internet as a useful tool for research. Due to the limited number of computers, and my own hope of making them learn how to teach others, I initially taught only four students to access the Internet. In turn, these students taught their peers and served as the “company workers” who provided the work of teaching others in their community.
In one week’s time, we were able to teach a total of forty-five children how to use the Internet in their assignment and advanced readings. As discussed by Tuckman (1965) in his Stages of Group Development, we exhausted the means to reach our common goal of attaining learning for the group. In addition, we also assessed individual performance by asking them to make a simple research on their topic of interest. During the Performing stage, the “company workers” or those tasked to teach their peers experienced some problems in that their peers wanted to spend time visiting gaming sites.
This somewhat forfeited the purpose of teaching them the use of the Internet for research purposes, but with close monitoring, the behavior was corrected right away. After the Performing stage, the core group was asked to evaluate what they accomplished in terms of their own roles during the training. Notably, the students felt very proud of being able to teach their peers, and looking at the outputs, they cherished memories of taking part in other’s learning. References Berguist, Carlisle. (n. d. ) A comparative view of creativity theories: Psychoanalytic, behavioristic, and humanistic.
Retrieved January 2, 2008, from http://vantagequest. org/trees/comparative. htm Famous models: Stages of group development. (2001). Retrieved January 2, 2008, from http://www. chimaeraconsulting. com/tuckman. htm Gawel, Joseph E. (1997). Herzberg’s theory of motivation and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation, [ED421486]. Retrieved January 2, 2008, from http://chiron. valdosta. edu/whuitt/files/herzberg. html Manktelow, James. (2003). Belbin’s team roles. Retrieved January 2, 2008, from http://www. mindtools. com/pages/article/newLDR_83. htm