The first time I learned about FIRST Framework, I always hear people questioning, “what if I teach a big number of students, like 50 or 60 students in a class, and I am alone?”
I used to be a high school teacher for 5 years before I continue studying a master degree in educational psychology. I experienced teaching and managing a class. Before I know about FIRST Framework, I thought I did my best in teaching. I made many fun activities for students to learn. I made the learning materials as simple as I could, so the students would easily understand. But then, when I learn about FIRST Framework, I realized that I missed many things during my teaching experiences. I missed reflection on students’ reality, I missed reviewing, I missed to think about how the learning material could benefit students in their real life. FIRST Framework is amazing. It is structuring all the theories from educational psychology, neuropsychology, and many other theories, and summarize it all in such an easy way to be applied. Start from individualization until continuity and follow up.
But then, the question remains the same, how if I teach in a big number of students? I remember, Mr Mohammed Bahgat, the founder of SeGa Group, the author of FIRST Framework, answered, better to keep trying to apply it as much as you can, instead of nothing.
Yesterday, that chance came to me. One of my old friends texted me and asked me to facilitate “stop bullying” training in her school. She said there would be around 80 boys and 90 girls with a duration for the facilitation only for 2 hours. Instead of saying those things as obstacles, I said it as an opportunity. What can I do to keep apply FIRST in 2 hours with such a big number of students? Especially, the topic that I would facilitate is kind of boring topic. Everyone knows about bullying. If I only lecturing and pushing for 2 hours, I guessed that a big number of students will sleep soon!
I asked for ideas in FIRST Community of Practice Whatsapp Group. I got some ideas to be applied, then I made my learning design. So, this is what I did. I opened my facilitation with introducing myself and made an agreement of some rules, such as safe environment, especially we were in ” stop bullying” topic, then how to appreciate the one who participates and reward for students who participate. I told them that I was not the only one who would speak in this session, and expect them to participate during our session. Surprisingly, they were very active and willing to participate in every chance I made.
After made agreements, I asked 2 volunteers who have acting talent to make bullying demo in front of their friends as an opening. Then I pulled, what they know about bullying before explaining about definition of bullying. After the demo, I asked them to do active imagination about their experience as a bully or a victim of bullying. This was a reflection on reality. After they imagined individually, I asked volunteers to share what they imagined. One of them shared while tearing, that she has many regrets until now because she has ever bullied her friends in while her in elementary school. Until one day, she unintentionally listened to her friends’ scare to her. She just realized no one wants to be her friend due to her attitude. Now, she really wants to say sorry to her elementary school friends, but she couldn’t. Another volunteer also shared another touching story. I saw all students listen to their story attentively. All students feel sorry about their feeling and took a lesson from it. This is how ” trust the learner” principle work. We really need to trust our learner that they have something valuable to be learned by other learners, and even by us as the facilitator.
So, start from this session, I listened that they start to feel that bullying is a negative thing to do. This is how attitude changed. They learned from their friends’ real experience. I am only the facilitator and not the only source of learning.
Then I explained about the causes and effects of bullying and asked them to make group discussion, to discuss more causes and effects of bullying from what they see in their real life. Also, I asked them to discuss in another form of groups to discuss how to prevent bullying in their school. The last thing I did was reviewing and continuity and follow up. I asked them to write in a piece of paper individually. These are the questions: what did you get from this training session, what would you stop to do, what will you continue, and what will you start doing after this, regarding bullying topic that they have learned.
Beyond my expectation, this is one of the writing from the students.
I will try not to do bully anymore. I will share my experience as a bully and victim as a lesson learned, and hope it could decrease bullying. I will stop the bully and will stop my trauma as a victim. And I will stop to bully myself..
After finishing my training and read all their answers, I conclude that around 95% of the students who came to my training think that bullying is a bad attitude. Now I can see their attitude start to change. I feel that if I used the conventional way of lecturing on the session, I totally don’t sure that this result will happen. It is very important for the teacher or the facilitator to design an active and deep learner experience to get the maximum result regarding our learning goals. For a big number of students, at least let them think and discuss actively the topic. Even if we can’t check them one by one, at least we can move around and visit one group to check them. The chance for them to discuss and think actively to the topic is really valuable as a tool to reach the learning goal. It is also very important for the teacher or facilitator to ask them what they have learned from the session as reviewing. They maybe will never think about it until we asked them to think. Don’t waste our time only for transferring knowledge without giving them time to think actively and reflect.
Thank you for Al-Kahfi Islamic Boarding School, Sukabumi, West Java, for giving me the chance to facilitate there.