My teaching philosophy is routed in the idea that children learn best through doing and making. Rather than simply talking about topics and concepts, children need to engage with and apply those concepts in tangible ways. My practice is rooted in STEAM and Art Making concepts where children are able to test out different manifestations of ideas in order to best find solutions to their creative problems. At Robofun I have a multitude of entry points for including these ideas through it extensive curriculum and dedicated support from admin. Within the classes I am able to push students to consider new challenges or manners of solving those challenges, while exploring their connections to real world practices.
What I enjoy the most about being a mentor here at RoboFun is giving young children the freedom to channel their art and engineering skills at their own level of comfort.
One of my most memorable moments are usually of the students who are really shy and afraid to make new friends at first. But after interacting with them one on one during first part of class and giving them a building challenge, they’re able to break out of their comfort zone and just go where their mind takes them.
Our class, Little Engineers, was experimenting on how to build the strongest and sturdiest bridge. The 3 and 4-year-old students cheered whenever their paper bridges collapsed under increasingly heavy Lego brick loads. Through trial and error, the students were surprised to find out that a single sheet of paper folded many times could hold 10+ blocks!
Seeing their excitement when applying engineering concepts and how they concluded that more supports and Lego plates made sturdier bridges has been one of my most memorable moments as a Robofun teacher.
Great teaching moments for me are when there is a shared feeling of progression between a teacher and student. Humbling speaking, I have had so many great experiences with Robofun that it will feel unfair to pick just one child to express my commitment to teaching to convince, you, the reader, that we, as educators love what we do and are competent to do it well.
Children drive the world to become a better place (or at least I would like to believe so). So I hope it's not too cliche to say that the children are the future. Innocent and always seeking out the next new piece of information so that they could feed their growing minds, it is important that what we feed them is healthy and has sustenance; this is easier said than done and understandably so. Children are kind of like Rubik Cubes, so to say. I've learned that each one has a different combination to gain access into their worlds.
Luckily, these days, you could go on YouTube and figure out how to solve a cube - unluckily, you can't do the same for children; but the sense of accomplishment is the same when you finally figured out the solution. The accomplishment turns into confidence, and confidence turns into excitement for the next effort to be embraced. So whenever I step into my teacher's shoes and put on my teaching hat, I remember that there is no one particular way to reach the mind of a a child, but there is always one feeling that is a result of giving - and that's happiness. In the end (or the beginning- however you look at it) I'm happy to be teaching because I'm excited to achieve new accomplishments with my students.
As an aspiring engineer I never thought teaching would be a path I will find myself in. However working with Robofun has allowed me to share my passion for engineering and technology with youth who also share that same passion. An early memory of seeing such passion would be when a young student built a lego model of a wind turbine with a working motor. Seeing that fire in his eyes, and how focused he was building it, definitely made me realize how powerful and heart-warming being a teacher can be.
On July 10th at snack time, Sunjay and I took time to chat about Legos and Beyblades. Then he told me he enjoyed building at Robofun so much he wish I could stick around for a full day. Sunjay didn't know how much he warmed my heart.
My job as a teacher is not to force my ideas and knowledge upon my kids. It's about drawing out their inner strength and creativity. No matter how many times I do this, they never fail to impress me. Kids find their own paths - I just give them a candle.
When you are teaching you make sure that you review with your students. You try to make the concepts that you are teaching a solid thought in their head. Something that they can always come back to, even when they reach more advanced levels. But the best moment I have had was when a student answered a question that was asked of them with something I did not teach. Through our time together and hands on learning the student had figured out how the size of Gears in robotics and how they connect together can effect the speed at which they move.
It is wonderful when you see students go beyond what you have taught them by connecting with the material and forming their own hypothesis and testing it out. Having students go beyond where you thought they could is the best part about being a teacher.
Here at Robofun we provide a space for kids to be brave: to try new things; meet new people; and to fail and start over again. Our classes promote exploration and experimentation, and nothing makes me happier than when kids find a better way to solve a problem or discover new talents. My most memorable moments are ones in which kids surprise me with their creativity, surprise themselves with their ability to complete projects previously deemed too difficult, and surprise each other with their kindness and support. Our community of kids and educators is a very special one - filled with enthusiasm and dedicated to having fun while learning!
Much of what I do at Robofun has been guided by Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of praxis — where dialogue and action coincide. We are living in a time of war, poverty and climate change. Learning how to make video games and build robots could either be a distraction from what is happening or it can serve as a platform for social change. I believe that combining the power of music, research, and storytelling into STEM curriculum will mitigate habitual thinking.
Discussion is just as important as practice. In both Minecraft and EV3 classes, students reflect upon aspects in the world that they would like to change and create a world in Minecraft that reflects these changes. Students also have the chance to learn how to create music in my classes with programs such as Splice or Garage band. Combining artistic platforms gives students the tools to better express their concerns, frustrations and joy. By engaging in dialogue between themselves, students start to cultivate better communication habits and teamwork building methodologies. These skills are vital in affecting the type of change they speak about in class. We need to listen to their proposals and start changing how we, the adults, respond to their suggestions and incorporate their ideas into the areas of society that we have been asked to lead.