Reflections Through Learning
While going through the material regarding diversity I was thinking of myself while I’m tutoring my Chinese students, and the time when I first started tutoring them. It was a shock for me to experience teaching a language to students who unlike me or unlike many Filipinos can construct simple sentences in English. Ages of my students ranges from 5 years old to 34 years old. The first month was the most difficult one because I have let go of my impatience and accept that they don’t respond to me not because they have low intelligence but because they do not understand the language they have to use to communicate to me. Just like what it said in the material I have to accept every student’s similarities and differences not just for other students but also for me. The role to be culturally responsive is heavier on the teachers part, when I continued to think the way I thought like, they should be understanding me since they wanted to learn English, require better effort on learning how to respond in English and to expect them to formulate their thoughts initially in English I have failed as a culturally responsive teacher. I have failed to demonstrate respect, consideration, tolerance in those moments, I did not meet my student where they were, though I was aware of their struggles and how they wanted to learn I did not give them patience and sincerity that I would want my teacher to give me if I am the student. I have often thought that as a person I value equity, I practice fairness not until this module did I realize that there is double standard in my thinking and preferences.
I think I have expected it from myself to be tolerant of differences since I live in the Philippines, here we are exposed to Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese who stays temporarily to study, western films are very much supported but little did I know that what I thought natural of me is something that I have to consciously work hard to display. This is not going to be a quick fix, I have to continuously expose myself to materials that would correct my attitude and practices to be a tutor that displays real concern and respect.
I told you before, I occasionally teach in our Sunday School and facilitate discipleship classes with the same group because of that I bought several card games and board games to entice them to attend and when our sessions are nearing their exams or just right after exams then instead of traditional discussion we’ll have games. That is already my attempt on incorporating fun in my teaching, as a person I’m really not artistic whatever I lack in the “naturally creative” department I try to offset with games that I could buy.
So this went on for years, several students have graduated from my class and when we would have time to get together they would still look for the games they have used when they were my students. All along I was thinking that I did well since they learned and had good memories with me. It would have been better had I known how to incorporate creativity early own.
I have a girl friend that also goes to the same church I go, she handles the college class as I handle the high school class. Recently we would have discipleship classes on the same afternoon, every time this happen I would hear sounds of cheers and laughter coming from her room, every topic to discuss she’ll have group activities for icebreaker and games for application. I would often think that I could never teach like that, it will be a challenge to get their attention to focus back to the topic if they will always laugh and pause for a games. Also how could I have creative ideas on how my students could apply what I thought from the Bible, shouldn’t we just have to wait for a situation wherein they could apply the Bible principles to their lives? My initial reaction was, I guess for her it’s just so easy, she’s musically incline person so her brain is much creatively wired than mine.
But then again this module corrected by thinking, creativity is not just about art, it’s not about people who are creatively wired. It’s about expressing one’s own ideas in many different ways, it’s being innovative on how a teacher could present information in ways that students will understand considering the differences on personality and capabilities of students, it’s allowing students to find multiple solutions to a problem. One more thing, I should have not limited myself into thinking that games are there to engage them to think practical applications it could be as simple as, freedom for kids to demonstrate what they have learned. Lastly, my discipleship class need to be always be serious to assure me that they are learning.
Since this semester is about to end, I’m thinking of having the kids come over to my place for another discipleship class. I don’t have much ideas yet but I’ll start with a movie, color pens and colored papers. I don’t have yet the complete picture in mind but I’ve got to start somewhere right?
American Psychological Association (2016). Creativity in the classroom. Retrieved from:
Dr. Sherri (2014). Strategies for Teaching Culturally Diverse Students. Retrieved from: