The Free Classes’ February Teacher Development Workshop took place on Sunday 5th Feb. Led by JWOC’s Child Development Coordinator and Librarian Sonesa Khuon, it focused on ‘Facilitation Skills using Creative Art Techniques’, we caught up with her to find out how it went.

Please can you describe the training that you did in today’s teacher development workshop?
The training in today’s Teacher Development Workshop was named ‘Facilitation Skills using Creative Art Techniques’. As art class team leader and library class teacher the training can help our scholarship student teachers to build ideas, think creatively and in turn apply such skills into their lessons and classrooms. I focused on sharing methods to build closer relationships between teachers and students (and scholarship student peers), from what I saw the students enjoyed the training, finding it interesting, meaning they can apply it in the classroom.
What methods did you use in the training to support your class?
To start, I asked all students to stand in a circle, stand next to a member of the opposite gender before asking them to hold hands. They felt shy and awkward, but I did this to break barriers and to get them to better know each other. We played the ‘name game’, so everyone knew each other’s name, more than 60% already knew each other. Such games are very good in building up relationships in the classroom, especially as the new term starts and students don’t know each other. Beside games, I asked them to meditate and to think about the teachers (in school and university) they liked and disliked and then what those teachers did right and wrong. This reflection allowed them to realize how they act in the classroom and to understand what they should do to ensure their students enjoy learning with them. This is great way for the students to reflect in a peaceful environment, something most had not done before.
Why is creativity in the classroom important? How do you think it will help the teachers in the classroom and the student’s learning?
Creativity in the classroom is very important as it helps the teacher to introduce new techniques and make the lesson more fun and engaging. It is a modern teaching method practiced in more developed countries. It helps teachers to teach in different styles and make the lesson more interactive so students will not feel bored with the same kind of lessons.

How can the teachers encourage creativity in the classroom?
There are many ways, including playing games, teaching them through songs, changing the classroom layout; as well as different styles of teaching through textbooks, projectors/slideshows, tablets, and changing the classroom environment (teaching inside and outside) etc. These are just a few that we discussed.
Why is creativity important for the next generation of Cambodians? How will it help Cambodia grow?
It is very important for the next generation of Cambodians because it is a new strategy for students and teachers to participate in the learning process. Students will learn through having fun, making the class more interesting, building skills in communication, collaboration, creative and critical thinking. This will help Cambodia grow by making a more reliable human resource which has more creative skills to help people in communities, encouraging innovation and helping Cambodia to develop faster. 

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