“That’s alright. I think it looks nice. She’s doing a good job.”
In art class today I had them draw animals in preparation for their collaborative project. I passed out the materials and they just sat there staring straight ahead. Why was no one working?
“They are telling me they need some ideas” said the teacher.
I drew a bunch of cartoon animals on the board for them and propped up a large tin watercolor set that’s covered in pictures of various animals. Then they got started. I was impressed with their portraits last class, but these animals are even better!
One of the best drawings was done by (who at first glance would appear to be) an unlikely individual, a boy who can't speak and whose left hand is permanently bent at the wrist. A teacher picked up his drawing and walked it around the class to show them a good example. He was absolutely beside himself with happiness. I was really proud of him. These kids have so much potential.
Then one of the teachers walked over to a girl and hit her on the head with her pen for drawing her animals too small. And the moment was over.
A boy in the back of the room had drawn a really great lion and below it the Kenyan flag.
“Wow. That’s better than my lion!” I told him, pointing to the board.
“Better than yours? Noo, but it is good” replied the teacher.
At the end of class I had the students walk around the room, leaving their drawings on their desks. They were told to stand by their favorite drawing, not their own, and the drawings with the most people by them were collected. I’m going to transfer some of the animals onto the cloth I was given today, then cut the cloth into sections, so they can each color a segment next class. When everyone is finished I’ll sew all of the pieces together to make a tapestry for their classroom.
I had brought a box of nice pens for the students to trace their drawings with, which they didn’t end up doing. The teacher picked them up at the end of class and while looking at them said, “I want a pen. Give me a pen.”
“Uhh OK.” I wasn’t going to argue over one pen.
I thought she’d taken one, so I put the box in a plastic bag with the other supplies.
“Give me the pen” she said, thrusting her hand in front of me, palm-up. She didn’t even look at me as she said it. I took one out and dropped it in her hand. She shoved it in her pocket and walked out of the classroom. Well alright.
Next I wrote “peer pressure” on the board and asked the class for a definition. I expanded on the definition they gave me and explained the meaning of each word.
“Your peers are people who are close to you in age like your classmates or your siblings. They can also be members of a group you’re in, like this Health Club or a sports team. So your parents and grandparents are not your peers.” I underlined pressure, “Pressure means pushing or influencing someone to do something.”
Then I combined the definition of each word to create a definition for peer pressure, “So peer pressure is when people close to you in age push or influence you to change your attitudes, values or beliefs. Now, what’s really important is that peer pressure can be both positive and negative. An example of positive peer pressure would be if you have a very motivated group of friends who tries hard in school and wants to be successful. They might encourage you to study hard for the KCPEs (8th grade placement exams) which would be a positive thing. An example of negative peer pressure is a friend pushing you to try drugs or alcohol. What are some other examples of things you may be pressured to do by your peers?”
“Drop out of school” said a boy.
“Sexual experiences” was another response.
“Unwanted pregnancy” said a girl.
“Unwanted pregnancy could be a result of being pressured into sex, but would someone really be pressuring you to get pregnant?”
A few girls nodded and said “yes” in unison.
Under each of the examples they listed I had them come up with a couple of consequences.
“OK great! Now we are going to go over something called the Three C’s of decision making. First, you recognize the challenge you are facing, then you list your choices, and then weigh the positive and negative consequences of each choice.”
I read them the following “challenge”, “You have seen how your father’s life has been damaged by drinking too much alcohol and have decided never to drink. Your new friend took a bottle of alcohol from his parents and wants to try it after school. He is trying to convince you to come with him and drink it. What are your choices?”
Here are the responses the class gave:
“Refuse and give reasons.”
“Report your friend to his parents.”
“Stop being his friend.”
“OK good, these are all good choices, but what are your other choices, even if it may not be a good choice?” I wanted them to say that they could say yes to the friend and try the alcohol because the next step was to list consequences of each action. “What about saying yes to your friend and trying the alcohol? That may not be a good choice, but it is still a possible option and we want to look at the consequences of all of our choices.” I wrote “say yes” on the board as the fourth choice.
“Now, what would be the consequences of refusing and giving your friends reasons why?”
“Your friend might decide not to drink.”
“Yes, very good.”
For the consequences of “say yes” they said drinking could affect their health and that they may steal money from their parents to buy alcohol in the future.
“Let’s take a vote. Which of the four choices do you think is the best one?”
Nineteen students said refusing and giving reasons was the best and sixteen voted to stop being their friend. No one raised their hand for reporting their friend or for saying yes.
Class was over so we’ll start next week by learning about drugs and alcohol. Then I’ll put them in pairs to act out the challenge and the choice to say no and give reasons, using what they learned in class.
“alcohol will it spread HIV and AIDS victims”
“what if you are deep in love with the friend, what can you do?”
“and hive he is your best friend what may you do and helps you with everything”
“what is your name” Really? I have a nametag on my desk every day.
“and when you ass him or her to be your wife you go and toake accole”
“what you are removing pregnancy can you feel pain”
“1. Why do big or grown ups use acohol or bear and they are not affected? 2. Is it possible for a child to drink?”
“in peer presure can you distroy your life.”
“if you have viginal fluid will you get pregnant?” A girl came up and asked me this after class. It’s nice that they feel comfortable enough to ask me things like that.
“can you teach us about friendship of a boy or and girl (Dames)?”
“How do you say yes when you are at the long place.”
“is me is do is that is can is be very bad” What is you is meaning by is this?
“I want to now where the alcohol moves?”
“and if hear she forces you to take alchoho. what shall you do?”
“what disease could you get if you use those drugs like alcohol.”
“If your freiend push you to steal the money what will you do.”