My Group Endeavours in Service Learning (GESL) group and I had to attend this 2-day course/module titled The Meranti Project. According to the National Institute of Education (NIE) website:
The Meranti Project is a MOE-funded personal and professional development programme specially tailored for student teachers. Held over two days in groups of 20, it has the following objectives:
a. helping student teachers to develop better self-awareness (better tuning into self);
b. providing a clearer idea of what Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) is all about and one’s role in nurturing CCE in innovative ways in the classroom;
c. better ideas of working with diversity in the classroom;
d. strategies for coping with being a teacher;
e. affirmation of choosing teaching as a career.
With the aid of informal dialogue sessions with veteran teachers, it gives student teachers the opportunity to listen to firsthand experiences of teachers and the perspectives of student learners. The programme also makes use of open sharing sessions and ingenious games to help the student teachers experience the core competencies of social emotional learning, to share their personal aspirations with their peers and to express their opinions in an open and creative environment.
At the end of the programme, student teachers will have a better grasp of the innovative approaches to Character and Citizenship Education and be better equipped when they begin their teaching journey upon graduation.
It was certainly an interesting 2-days. I will not blog about what happened as I respect the confidentiality agreement made before the course started but what I can say is that I had a very good facilitator.
I have heard horror stories from friends and seniors and I am really glad that my experience is rather positive. It is definitely due to the facilitator as well as my GESL group mates. After the end of the course, I guess I have learnt more about my GESL mates. Would I say it has brought us closer? Maybe. It has made me respect them more after hearing about their reasons and struggles about becoming an Education Officer (EO) and for a few of them, their journey has paralleled my own.
All in all, I guess this has taught me one thing. Keep an open mind. Always. Even if those who tells you one thing are someone close to you, someone whose advice really matters, keep an open mind. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Experiences are always personal and what may be a waste of time for someone may actually strike a chord in someone else.