Monday, April 21, 2008

A picture tells a thousand words...

I simply love this picture. This is a picture of a Palestinian Muslim woman carrying an Israeli girl which was taken in the conflict-torn Gaza strip. I used this picture as the concluding picture for the series of picture slide shows in my pre-reading activity when I was teaching the poem The Man He Killed by Thomas Hardy.

In that, I brought to light the on-going conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian sides to contrast against the theme of the futility of war in the poem. Overall, I am glad to say that the presentation was quite a satisfying one with my ever creative partner, Ying Ying who had contributed to the brilliant idea of having a mock press conference in the while-reading activity. We have both loved The Man He Killed by Thomas Hardy and what is better than teaching something that you truly enjoy yourself?

Nevertheless, our lecturer took that opportunity to guide us into a discussion on whether it is appropriate to bring sensitive issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the classroom, with all due respect to our country being a Muslim country. However, I should also say that this kind of activity can only be applied to a high-level classroom as the students would need to have some previous knowledge on this issue for the pre-reading activity to be effective.

Subsequently, it was the picture which saved the day as it summed up our non-confrontational approach in tackling the 'sensitive' issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Appropriate or not appropriate aside, we also voiced out our opinion on bringing the discussion of current issues into the classroom. Ultimately, being the open-minded TESLians that we are, we concluded that we have no qualms about the discussion of sensitive or current issues in the classroom, hey, after all, our duty is to educate a generation of thinking Malaysians, and not yes-men right? Pn. Noraini also gave her blessing in this as she felt that we could not find a better time to talk with our students about this relevant issues than now. As have been said, better late than never (or pregnant, that's another story with another lecturer...)


i TeAcH... said...

At 2nd last class with Mr Lim, one of my course mate taught something about Death, and I too asked Mr Lim if this is something that is appropriate to teach in class. This is because death is something that is considered something sensitive and "taboo". He replied my question by saying something like if we don't teach them, we are being ignorant. Death is something that all of us have to face sooner or later. It would be excellent if we can teach them about death and how to face death. In another word, teach them not just about the subject but how to deal with matters that they will face in life. That would be a great lesson for the students.. By hiding sensitive issues from our students will not keep them away from the cruelty of man. I always believe we need to show it to them. Teach them how to think, not what to think... :)
So, I like the idea of yours, relating a poem by Thomas Hardy with something that the students can see around them. It makes them aware about the situation and also making the poem real, in a way. Goo d lesson darling... :)

Labyrinth said...

I agree with Ange. But always remember that whatever that you want to bring into the classroom has to be of interest to the students esp when you're just starting to teach and getting their attention. I looove the pics you used. Very well strategized Kudos to you and Yings. Another thing that interests me is this notion of complicated issues for high level students only. Do you mean, high in proficiency or in maturity? If you mean, maturity, I would agree but if you're saying that thise issues are for high level prof students only, maybe you should rethink about it. Some students of weak prof may not have the language but they may have the maturity and interest to discuss aih? So, think about it yah? A very moving post.

Ying Ying said...

lol soon chen hahaha. i stil remember our mock conference. lol. wen i was carrying it out, i thought it was a pure disaster already! hahaha. everyone looked so blur. lol. but i really didn't expect dat someone actually said it was good. lol. really great experience with u. too bad we won't be teaching together for the next sem. :p