Millie Thng

What are the three key things you have learned from this service learning project?

Through the weekly service at TYA, I have learnt to be more patient. Often, the students do not understand what we are trying to teach, regardless of how many times we have repeated ourselves, or how many ways we have tried to explain the questions. I have learnt to keep trying and help students understand concepts, even if it takes half an hour to complete just one question. It might help them during their examinations.

Through the weekly service at TYA as well as the chemistry and origami lesson, I have learnt to simplify terms for the students to understand. For example, during the weekly service, a student encountered difficulties dividing large numbers, so I simplified the numbers to smaller numerals, hoping to teach him the concept of how division works. During the chemistry and origami lesson, slides were simplified and the concept of chemical reaction was taught via personification. One of the students expressed that she understood why when sodium carbonate is mixed with barium chloride, barium carbonate is formed, as the chemicals 'switched' partners.

Lastly, through the chemistry and origami lesson, I have learnt to prepare simple lesson plans. Back up lesson plans are necessary in the event that activities do not stick to allocated time slots.

What are the two challenges you faced during this service learning project?

During the weekly service, I was not able to communicate with the students well, as most I have tutored were reserved, and I did not know how to engage them.

During the chemistry and origami lesson, the number of students who turned up were much lesser than we expected. As a result, we had to modify our arrangements such as the students' sitting arrangement, the amount of apparatus required etc.

If you were to do this project again, what are the two things you would do differently?

Firstly, I would try to get more rest and wake up on time for weekly service, as I had encountered oversleeping many times and missed out the opportunity to tutor and bond with the students.

Secondly, I would go for the idea for another experiment to be chosen for the chemistry lesson as 'Water into Wine, Milk and Beer' seemed too complicated for the students to understand, especially when it involved chemical names such as Phenolphthalein.

How would you assess the success of this project?

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most successful, I would think that the chemistry and origami lesson project is about a 8. The students had fun playing with the magic sand and instant snow, as well as the plane-flying competition. Since the project was created for them, what matters most is that they enjoyed themselves.

However, certain concepts were too complicated for them, such as the 'Water into Wine, Milk and Beer' experiment, which caused them confusion, which I feel made the project not a perfect 10.

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