It is a Saturday in October, 3.00 pm. A bunch of 5 year old children are entering the classroom, some a little shy, some with big smiles on their faces and a lot of stories about what they have experienced that week: „Becky, on my way I came across a construction site, and the machine was working in a steady beat, bum-bum-bum!“. They put their chairs ready in a circle, as they do it every week.
The class starts off with an English welcome-song and a rhythmical activity as the children say their names according to a simple body percussion. Today’s class topic is „Ta“ and „Titi“, so the children go on with rhythmical activities, speaking, clapping, tapping and drumming different rhythms of „Ta“ and „Titi“. Then the class moves and acts with the sounds of the piano in the room, today it is a bunny-story with a focus on the musical parameter „high-low“. The children seem to have a lot of fun! Since it is the exam week, one older student of the BSM comes to perform her piano pieces she will play in the exam. Most of the young children listen up with a lot of focus, and clap their hands as the pieces are over. Everybody says happily: „Goodbye and until next week!“, as the class is over.
This is a description of the first class of the „Early children music“ I visited. It takes part at the BSM, the teachers name is Becky, who seems to lead the class with a lot of energy and joy. The course is the Indian equivalent to my „Musigchindergarte“ – class that I have taught in Switzerland. There are a lot of similarities – yet there are some differences, Becky and I agree, as we have a chat after the class. Especially the music theory and its terms would be kept stronger in background in Switzerland, hidden and packed into images and playful activities – for that age group. Here, the approach could be described as more cognitive. Why is that so?
An answer could be found in a look onto the Indian education system: Here, the kids enter pre-schools even before they are two years old, and after a while they start to learn the alphabet. So – when they enter primary school, they are able to read and write, whereas the Swiss children would just start off with learning to write letters. So basically the approaches of teaching are different and the kids would be used to a different style of being taught.
I guess as teachers we are highly influenced by the values of our education system – voluntarily or non-voluntarily. Through growing up in an education system, being trained to be a teacher (through people who have experienced the same system), finally teaching in the same system.
So, I think it can be an interesting challenge for all of us teachers, to think about what are our values in teaching and where they might come from. Being in India and having the chance to teach in another education system, I am eager to develop a bigger understanding about this interesting topic, to cover up my own values in teaching and learn from my surrounding.