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

Throughout the duration of the service learning project, I have gained several key learning points. By giving service on a weekly basis in the form of tuition, I have learnt to exercise patience. Most of the children at the centre were not academically inclined, and it was difficult for them to complete the work assigned. Also, some of them were not focused, and were easily distracted. Getting them to be on task as well as to understand basic concepts of a subject proved to be quite a challenge. However, over the weeks, I learnt to become more patient when teaching the children, by not having any prejudices and starting from the very fundamentals of the subject.

At the same time, I also learnt the importance of being able to adapt to different people and situations. All of us vary in the way we learn and study, and this includes the children at the centre as well. Some of them were visual learners; this meant that I had to teach using graphical methods e.g. models for Mathematics. Some of them were kinesthetic learners; not being a kinesthetic learner myself, I had difficulty trying to teach them at first. However, over time, I learnt to teach them from a another approach, by involving physical things such as actual objects around them e.g. showing characteristics of liquid by looking at water in their bottles. 

When it came to applying the knowledge we gained from doing the service, I learnt that planning is absolutely crucial. It is good to be prepared. As the saying goes, expect the worst, but hope for the best. During the planning of the Science program for the children at the centre, we came up with possible scenarios that could possibly occur. For example, what if the students do not understand a thing? What if they had no interest? What if the experiment demonstration doesn’t work? Thus we made our preparations based on those questions and conducted several dry runs. Without adequate planning, the program would not have been as successful. 

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

One of the challenges I faced was ensuring that whatever I taught was correct and that the methods I taught were suitable. Having no prior experience to tutoring, I was afraid that I did not teach them in the best way. For instance, the method that I taught might be too complicated when there is actually an easier way. It was also quite difficult getting the students to internalize what they had been taught. Sometimes, even after being taught the concept, they are not able to spot similar trends or methods in questions. This could be due to the fact that they have not really understood what was being taught. Thus, I had to keep repeating things.

Another challenge I faced was waking up early on Saturday mornings every week to go for the service. I had been accustomed to waking up late on Saturdays as it is a day to sleep in after a week of school. However, I became motivated after realizing how the children also had to wake up early to attend the sessions.

3) If you were to do this project again, what would you do differently?

I would try to get to know the children better, by engaging with them more often.

4) How would you assess the success of this project?

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest rating, I would give this project an 8. The project was relatively successful, and we were able to gain experiences while giving back to the community through our services at the same time. However, there are still some improvements that can be made to the project. 

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