Even tho STEM class is fun, but fear creeped in can deter a kid from enjoying it.
With more STEM class experience under my belt, I am more and more convinced now that with a personal touch, addressing a kid’s emotional need, can help them immerse better in the learning experience.
In one Apprentice Xmas camp this week, we had two ten year old boys and one 7 year old girl.
Have you ever imagined how intimidating it can be to the girl? New environment, new classmates, and they are all boys and they are older…
The boys were totally fine. They made friend with each other soon. Our little girl started very reluctantly though. At the beginning, she almost refused to take part at all. She provided a 『no』 to all questions our instructor was asking. she didn’t want to think at all, let alone think of improvement to the solutions.
OK, I feel I needed to step in more. A lot of encouragement? Didn’t quite work. Is she feeling uncomfortable? What if I speak in her mother tongue – a language she would feel more at home? Things got a bit better. I started to go bilingual when talking to her. Is the course content too difficult to her? She said yes. But if you use tangible materials to demonstrate, a bigger wheel would go faster or a smaller wheel, she can tell you bigger wheel, and know how to improve her rope roller using this concept…
Later, she told me she’s done solar panel before, and she found it easier than the motor and circuitry we were using that day. Later, she told me about the English class she uses to attend, and she had a Xmas party to go after the STEM class that day. Later, we were 『fighting』 with the straw fingers they built in the class (we were testing the mobility of the fingers before having the electronic components to move them, ok?) She said motor was difficult beforehand, but you know what, I saw her totally ok putting all Littlebits components together, motor included, the circuitry in right order, and even explored and tested more different Littlebits components.
If fear from a new environment or comparison with others in the class is something that holds back our little ones to learn, I hope by now our little girl is free from it now.
(written by Wanda)