Just remember: kids like games, stories, and cartoons. If we help children to see learning as fun – as the greatest game – then we’ve already done them a great service.
The great thing about using art in language classes is that students can use and hear a variety of language in the process and it can also help them to achieve a relaxed focus beneficial to learning. Furthermore auditory and visual tasks are easily performed in unison so as students draw they can still talk or listen to stories and music. The students generally love it, it can help them to focus, you get some peace, and you’ll probably get very happy parents who have visual proof that their children are actually learning or doing something constructive. If the artwork can help the World then all the better. In some cases the artwork can be part of a wider campaign. For example, in America various schools took part in an anti-idling campaign in which students drew posters, displayed them, and then even went out to remind parents in cars to not idle their engines.
While students create posters I sometimes read aloud stories or articles they have previously learned. You can also make it a game by pausing in mid-speech. The student that can recall the next sentence, word or idea can get a point for their team.
Tip: Each student must first create a sketch including all the text in pencil. Then a teacher checks and only once the teacher says or writes that it’s OK can the student start to use pen. It’s often good to use plenty of the target language in the artwork, such as in speech bubbles and so on.
Example artwork from English classes:
‘Love the World’ By Moby (elementary school student in Taiwan)
‘Save the Trees’ By Phoebe (elementary school student in Taiwan)
Tree of Wisdom (By Jimmy: elementary school student in Taipei)
My dream (By Jimmy). Getting children to draw their dreams and goals.
Why teeth are important (By Jimmy)
1st Place. ‘Save Our World’ By Jimmy (Junior High School Student in Taiwan. Poster created at David’s English Language Centre in Taipei)
Feel free to get in touch and send images by your students. High quality artwork with beneficial messages could be put online.
If you have a school in Hong Kong and would like to hire Luc (the Peacemaker founder) for a poster making session with students then feel free to get in touch. Free for orphanages, charities, and non-profit organizations.
For resources to help when making posters with students see HERE
To see the winning entries in our 2015 poster contest see HERE
Water, Food & Air
*Advisable in some places only
- *Use water filters and then boil water. Change the filters on time.
- *Arrange a free check of your water quality by contacting your local water supplier.
- *Avoid ice cubes in drinks when eating out.
- Wash cups well and rinse washing up liquid off the cups.
- Keep cups covered.
- Don’t put hot liquid into plastic containers unless they’re heat resistant.
- Avoid plastic bottles or cups with BPA.
- Use only cold water from the tap for drinking and cooking. Hot water has usually been through the boiler which may be unclean or leach chemicals.
- If taps have not been used for a while, then briefly run the water before filling your container.
- Take hazardous waste to a hazardous waste collection center. Do not dump toxic chemicals down the drain or on the ground.
- Eat organic vegetarian food.
- Wash food well with clean water.
- Don’t put food on the ground.
- Cover food if left standing or if sweeping.
- If you eat fish then choose fish with lower lower mercury levels (usually lower on the food chain).
- Don’t eat as you walk by busy roads or drive.
- Avoid disposable utensils like throw-away chopsticks and plastic cutlery.
- Don’t use plastic with hot food unless heat proof. Don’t put plastic into microwave ovens unless microwave safe.
- Rinse washing up liquid off cups and plates.
- Use separate cloths for cleaning dishes and surfaces.
- Don’t smoke.
- Use cleaner transport such as electric vehicles or bicycles (don’t use petrol scooters).
- Turn off your engine when you stop (avoid idling your engine).
- Plant trees and be around trees.
- Walk or run in parks, the countryside, or away from busy roads.
- Go high up above ground level. Go to a higher floor in your building, hike up a mountain.
- Maintain good ventilation: especially when using chemical-based cleaners, glues and paints. Open a window or use an extractor fan.
- Close doors and windows if you’re by a busy road (especially at rush hour and if you live on the ground floor).
- Use an air purifier and/or put plants indoors.
- Sweep carefully and slowly using a covered pan.
Advice for Governments on how to achieve cleaner air
Generally speaking in most countries we need more:
- pedestrian areas (with no cars or scooters)
- bans on petrol scooters
- clean vehicles
- green transport infrastructure
- public transport infrastructure
- stop engine idling campaigns
- wide sidewalks
- wide and protected bike lanes
- investment in green renewable energy
The Physical & Mental Health Balance
Taking care is often important for our physical health, but mental health often requires a more carefree outlook. So the art of living well is being careful, caring yet carefree. Having love without attachment. A quote I once read goes, “Take a child by the hand, they will show you the way.” I believe adults are often better at the ‘careful’ and children at the ‘carefree’. Every time you shout to a child, ‘Be careful!’ you can imagine them shouting back at you ‘Be carefree!’ Children often experience negative emotions and then recover swiftly because they’re such complete experts at living in the moment. To stop worrying about the past and future, is one of the great lessons they teach us. Mental slavery is worrying about the past. Discipline is doing the right thing from now on.
By all means use and share the various health tips outlined above, but always remember the value in simply broadening your outlook to see the big picture, the value of letting it be, of not worrying about stuff, and of having faith. Perfectionism is anything but perfect. So don’t sweat the small stuff, just create good habits so that overall you’re going in the right direction.