For nearly two weeks, I have spent time teaching the Grade 3 students on how to perform the Kodaly Hand Signs. One of the many mistakes I made last semester was teaching all the 7 hand signs to the same batch of students. Most of them can’t memorize all 7. Following the Scheme of Work this semester, they are to only learn 4 solfeges: Do, Mi, So and La. It was also in last semester that I spent sometime organizing my music materials and resources online through my browser bookmarks. One of the many useful resource that I used were these: Mi-So-La Songs. This website contains songs that uses Mi-So-La only. For the purpose of teaching the Grade 3 students, I have modified some of the songs to end on Do. This is the stage where they start to have a sense of the home key or the tonic.
I have taught them 3 songs: Rain rain go away, Acka Backa and the Wolf Game song. So what I did this past week was getting them to write down the solfege of the songs into their exercise book. I started the classes by having them revise the songs with the hand signs first. After that I wrote a few lines of the songs onto the board and guide the students to write down the solfege. I repeat the same steps over and over for the entire song.
Then when I move on to the next song, I only guide them for the first two lines and they will have to finish the rest of the song. Out of so many in both classes, only 2 or 3 were very confident on doing on their on. Most of them could write down the solfege to near perfection and some did not really try as they did not take initiative to remember the hand signs. (How do we teachers make students take the initiative to learn? That’s a question that I have pondered for some time and I hope to find some solution to this).
There was also one particular student who did not even ‘try’. You might wonder why were there inverted commas on the word try. This boy that I’m talking about is actually a very bright boy but unfortunately, he is a bit on the arrogant side as he knows most basic music knowledge. He is unlike his other peers whom are not given the same opportunity as him. He left most of his work blank and when I asked him why he did not complete. He said he doesn’t know how to do it. I tried encouraging him by having his nearest peers do the hand signs of the songs together but to no avail, he did not show me the right response. (So, here comes another question: How do teachers deal with arrogant children? How do we correct that behaviour?)
I only teach every class twice a week. From the experience that I have gathered so far, time is of essence to develop a good relationship with your students. The longer you spend time with them and have normal communications with them, the better you get to know the students and the more they get to know more about you too. Sometimes I wonder whether it is possible for a teacher to accommodate the every need of each student. Sounds quite impossible but I’m a teacher that keeps trying all the time. There is so much trial and error in this field of work but one always learn and keep the best. And one also learns from the worst and improve from there.