Schools take learning out of the box

Schools take learning out of the box
Primary 6 pupils from Mayflower Primary taking on the role of set designers for a performance which requires them to make circular props.

Dramatic maths

At Mayflower Primary School, maths goes beyond memorising formulas and completing worksheets. It gets dramatic.

Pupils act out parts to help them understand concepts.

For instance, when learning about area and perimeter, they take on the role of a farmer who has to manage a small plot of land, and decide on the vegetables and fruits to grow.

When being taught about the properties of circles, the pupils become set designers who have to come up with props which are circular such as the entrance of a cave.

This turns learning into a journey of discovery, said Mrs Jessie Ching, one of the three maths teachers behind the initiative.

"Pupils' attitudes towards topics that they first thought difficult improved."

This new learning approach is part of the National Arts Council's Teaching Through the Arts Programme, which aims to help schools use artistic methods to teach non-arts subjects.

The teachers worked with a drama educator to co-design lesson plans.

They started in 2012 with three classes - two Primary 4 and one Primary 5. By last year, most of the upper primary classes were being taught this way. They now want to include some Primary 3 classes this year.

Chinese sayings come to life

Students are often taught idioms and proverbs by ancient Chinese philosophers and poets so they can use them when writing compositions.

Most dread having to memorise these famous sayings, but at Evergreen Secondary School, this has received an injection of fun.

After being taught idioms, students get to put them into practice - by coming up with songs, skits, short stories and even comic strips based on them.

Chinese teacher Ching Mei Fei said: "We wanted to see how they bring out the meaning of the idioms in different contexts."

In the first year of school, students are given a set of pocket-size flash cards with all the idioms they will need to learn. By the time they graduate, they would have been exposed to a total of 120.

It began in 2009 with two Secondary 1 classes. By 2012, all Sec 1 to 3 classes were learning this way.

"It's a time for students to enjoy themselves, and the class is very noisy in a good way, full of discussion and creativity," said Ms Ching.

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