Teaching is one of the things I like to do. When I visit student centers I enjoy seeing how teachers come up with different ideas to explain their lessons. Therefore, my visit to Roca de la Eternidad student center was a great opportunity to learn new teaching methods and see how they were implemented.
Teachers in Nicaragua are very creative in using whatever learning materials they have on hand.
Sometimes they do not have access to all of the materials for a lesson, or they have nothing at all. In either case, our teachers use their imaginations to share the message.
The first classroom I visited in this student center was for the little ones, ages 3 to 5, who were learning about the creation of the woman.
The tutor gave each child a piece of paper on which they created the silhouette of a woman by using glue and different nature items.
Then I went to the class for 6- to 8-year-olds. The teacher, Marisol, was supposed to use flannel for the day’s lesson but instead she used thin cardboard to draw pictures of the story of Elijah and Baal’s prophets.
She then gave the children a copy of another picture related to the lesson that they could color to set the story in the children’s mind.
A second group of students the same age went outside for an exercise class; the subject was “taking care of my body.” The tutor gave a short reflection on the importance of the body’s health before the children began to warm up.
I went to the class for 9- to 11-year-olds and saw children using glue, colors and glitter to write and decorate a Bible verse. They participated in a contest and the best work won a prize. Children do their best to win and, along the way, the verse is memorized through repetition.
The group next door is a class of 9- to 11-year-old students. The teacher divided the class into two groups and gave each group a topic.
Each group prepared a drama. The general subjects this time were “honesty and friendship” and “recognizing sin.”
The teacher had a good mastery on these subjects and the children paid attention. At the end, children came up with great dramas to represent their assignment — a fine display of their talents.
The last class was 12- to 14-year-old students. The teacher had the teenagers discuss the content of the song “The Potter” and extract the meaning of it for their lives. This work was done in groups and then one student from each group explained the work to the class. The subject was “What hinders us from getting closer to God?”
What I saw during the time at this student center reminds me once again that teaching is not an easy task. As simple as it might look, it takes time and preparation; however, the reward is incredible as teachers see children applying the lessons as they grow.
I finally sat to talk with teacher Marisol, who says,
To teach is a gift to transmit what God has prepared for each child. As teacher I have to think of the different learning styles and prepare for each of them. The visual aids and the page children color are important to help them remember the lesson.”
Sometimes the student center doesn’t have the material that the curriculum requires for a lesson,
…but we all [teachers] get together and share ideas to use in our classes, and we don’t feel it as difficult.”
There are also times when the subject is not an easy one, like talking with the little ones about God’s Trinity, but teachers draw a triangle or an egg to show three parts in one, and children respond well to the explanation given.
I left the student center content. Most teachers get the expected results, and I do too. Observing the classes at this and other student centers enriches my knowledge, and the children benefit most.