It's a Samoan pub.

October 9, 2006: The beginning of my adventure in the Peace Corps. I've been invited to serve as an Information and Communication Techonology volunteer to teach computer skills in Samoa. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are mine and do not in any way reflect the views of the Peace Corps, the US government, or the country of Samoa.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Aha Moment

It’s a beautiful thing for everyone involved. Once in a great while (I’m sure more often than that for more capable teachers) you can actually see comprehension. Sometimes you can even feel it. It’s like electricity has just shot through the room. You look into the eyes of your student and realize they suddenly understand exactly what you are trying so hard to teach.

I like to keep jigsaw puzzles in my classroom for my students to do during free periods (study halls). It’s one of the ways I try to trick them into learning logic. Last year it was a huge hit; they took to it immediately. They only thing I needed to do was start the edge and they took it from there. Once they finished the puzzle they just took it apart so they could do it again. This year though, I have years 9 - 13 instead of just 12 and 13. (The upside of having all the levels is I get to teach many different lessons everyday. The downside, I have to teach many different lessons ever day.) The younger kids have trouble with the puzzles (they’ve never seen one before). Often I’ll find random pieces just jammed together and no matter how many times I’ve explained that the puzzles are a work in progress, when my back is turned the puzzles still gets taken apart and heaped in a pile at least once a day. They think they are tiding the room.

One afternoon, I sat with a few Year 10 girls who were ‘working’ on the puzzle. I tried so hard to explain by example (I wanted them to figure the concept out themselves just like the older kids had) but I was getting nowhere. I was having trouble seeing the box so I propped the cover up with the bottom and looked from the piece I was working on to the box and back again. All of a sudden the girls’ eyes grew wide. They gaped at the cover picture and then stared down at the pieces in my hands. Almost as one they looked at the box again and then looked down at the pieces in front of them. And there it was, (I felt chills) the bolt of lightening.