Monday, July 28, 2008

Amman 7/28/08

Today is my last day in Jordan and tonight I’ll be flying to Ethiopia. We have been in Jordan for exactly one month. We have done outreach performances in Jiza, Sahab, Mafraq, Salt, Na’ur, Zarqa, and Kerak. Last week we did public performances as a part of the Circus Festival. Without exaggeration we have already performed for about 15,000 people here in the Middle East. Millions have seen us on Television and heard us on the Radio. Today a TV station in Cairo interviewed us. When we go to the markets here in old Amman someone normally recognizes us and says a warm hello. In addition to the performances we have been teaching three classes a day for six days a week. Classes include unicycle with Mr. Mike, gymnastics with Miss. Beth, costumes with Miss. Rachel, aerials with Miss Erin, clowning with Mr. Jeff, and prop manipulation with Mr. Ben I can’t believe it but each of us individually has taught 81 classes. Seventy percent of our students are underprivileged. Having a program that teaches children and mixes economic backgrounds is unheard of here in Jordan… It is a huge accomplishment.

Journal Entry 7/28/09 I have been working at the Children’s Museum of Jordan for a month. A week ago I was asked by the executive director of the children’s museum of Jordan to give a lecture to all educators on how I teach and work with children. 3:30 rolls around and all the educators file in. There is tea and cookies waiting and I’m frantically stitching together the last pieces of my outline. Two topics came to life during our muddled translations. The first was the difference between teaching someone in the traditional sense vs. having a common experience with the child. All of us agreed that a great strategy is to go on an educational adventure with the child. You really honor the moment, build history with the child, and lesson becomes unforgettable. “Do you remember the time the two of us did this”… The second topic that came to life is the idea of love languages. Every child is an expert in some given field. They have information that they are just dying to share. Here in Jordan I have talked with kinds in depth about the normal trains, cars, etc. Some have told me about their grandmother’s house, and sometimes the just want to show me a bug crawling along the ground. These topics are their love language. Just listening to these stories does so much. I think of it as a secret key that can be used to help them learn more and to build a relationship of trust with a child. The lecture comes to an end and wow, I think that I got as much out of it as they did. Having roundtable discussions are always a favorite. Getting to have a roundtable discussion half way around the world with a group of intelligent educators from the middle east it just downright exciting.


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