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Experiencing the Joy of Learning at Rumah Charis

22 Jun 2018

Discover the Joy of Learning (DJOL) 3.0 has now come into its third sequel since the start of the original educational project, Discover the Joy of Reading which was conducted in Rumah Titian Kaseh, Taman Titiwangsa. Like its predecessor (DJOL 2.0), the current DJOL 3.0 project was led by Dr Dinesh Kumar Chellappan and managed by Chan Ser Chyi and Low Ka Lok. On Friday evenings, 30 students from different cohorts of International Medical University (IMU) volunteered to teach the children at Rumah Charis – Home for the Children located at Taman Yarl, Kuala Lumpur.

The approaches we took during our project this time around differed from that of the previous projects, as we were not only focused on improving the English language proficiency of the children, but also on conducting various fun activities to allow them to discover themselves and develop their own unique strengths, talents and interests. The activities carried out were charades, DIY overnight oat balls and the most anticipated event – Talent Night which was held on the last visit. Due to the enthusiastic participation from the volunteers, DJOL 3.0 was able to provide guidance and support in educating and developing the less fortunate children between the ages of 7 to 16 years old. The emphasis on these age groups of children was because they are still in the phases of learning whereby education is fundamentally important for their growth and well-being in the future. We carried out the first visit on 30 March 2018, when we assessed the English proficiency of the children according to their school syllabuses, ie either KSSR (Standard Curriculum for Primary School) or PT3 (Form 3 Assessment). This assessment allows us to gain an insight on the children’s English capabilities and group them into the age category most suitable for them to cope with. After the assessment, we engaged the children with charades to further enhance their English learning experience. The subsequent visits were held on 6 April 2018, 13 April 2018, 20 April 2018, 27 April 2018 and 4 May 2018. Each visit was aimed to expose the children to different types of worksheet exercises and help them familiarise with the examination format so that they can better excel in their studies. Besides, we also taught the children dancing and ‘Cup Song’ in preparation for their Talent Night performances. The children were divided into different age categories, ie 7-9 years old (Group A), 10-12 years old (Group B), 13-14 years old (Group C) and 15-16 years old (Group D). The grouping was done according to the children’s age group and their capabilities in managing the different difficulty level of worksheets. Thus, those who were unable to cope in their respective age group were arranged to be in a lower age category to strengthen their foundation in English. During each visit, every child was assigned to a volunteer respectively to guide them on a one-to-one basis. This provided more opportunities for the child to engage in learning at his or her own pace, at the same time allowing the volunteer to better understand the child’s learning needs.

The volunteers began each session by guiding and tutoring the children on the learning materials prepared by the project coordinators. The children were given mock exercises to complete which were based on their school syllabuses. Upon completion of the given worksheets, the children can opt to work on the additional exercises provided or any of their schoolwork which required guidance in completing it. The children were then given booklets containing the content of lesson taught for that day as a reference to reinforce their knowledge. After the tutoring session, the children practised their Talent Night performances together with the volunteers.

Rumah Charis is a non-profit Christian based organisation founded by Reverend Teo How Ken in 1988. It was initially a home to serve the old and the aged (Home for the Aged), but has since expanded to include the youth and children. The Home for the Children provides care and a suitable environment for orphans and underprivileged children to grow. They also help the children emotionally by providing spiritual education, counselling and direction. The children’s home currently has a total of 9 volunteers and 40 children ranging from 3 to 18 years old. With the funding from IMU Cares and permission of the caretakers from Rumah Charis, we were able to conduct 6 visits of English teaching sessions and fun interactive activities throughout the month of April and May 2018.

This article was written by Krystal Victoria Mah, Project Secretary of the Discover the Joy of Learning 3.0 project. The photos were taken by Chan Ser Chyi and Low Ka Lok who were in-charge of photography. Related articles: Children at Rumah Charis Discover the Joy of Learning Discover the Joy of Learning at Rumah Charis (Home for the Children) Discover the Joy of Reading at Rumah Titian Kaseh

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