I discovered a Singapore gem新加坡国宝!
I met Mr Ng when I wanted to hone my chinese storytelling skills. Mr Ng Koon How 黄坤浩老师 is a septuagenarian with a deep passion for Chinese storytelling.
Mr Ng was involved in drama and is a prolific writer of Chinese literary works. He especially loves to convey the beauty of the Chinese language in the oral tradition. For more than 30 years, together his wife and son, he told entertaining stories in the public libraries.
Though he is retired now, he is busy sharing and passing on his skill to the younger generation! I am glad to work with him and Ms Chua, an opera-trained teacher, to conduct his chinese storytelling workshops at the library.
As a trainer for Asian Storytelling Network, I have trained volunteers for the Kidsread programme in storytelling skills for a few years. I meet people from all walks of life who want to pass on the love of reading to the less privileged children in Singapore. I love to see the faces of adult learners light up when they speak with facial & vocal expressiveness to convey tongue twisters like 'Blake the baker bakes black bread' - special emphasis on the specific words like the underlined word. All too often, they find out that words come alive when they read with expressiveness. This is how they can inspire the children to love books and words!
On January 14, Karen and I ran a 3-hour workshop for the 22 participants. It was highly interactive coupled with enthusiastic participants. We sang, we chanted and we played -- all in the name of finding ways to make storytelling multi-sensory for our children.
Here are some of their feedback:
"Swee Yean and Karen are excellent storytellers and trainers.
They are very passionate and are helpful to the course attendees."
"Interactive and interesting course.
Would strongly encourage parents who wish to engage their children to attend this course."
Many Chinese teachers in Singapore grapple with the uphill task of motivating our local children to read Chinese, speak Chinese and to like the language. One way is to use storytelling without picture books. I shared this in a 2-hour workshop in November 2016 for 30 Preschool Chinese Teachers organized by Ednovation Pte. Ltd.
These are my happy young adult learners. They were an enthusiastic bunch. Thank you for the opportunity to teach you!
I have carried out workshops that are 'tailor-made' according to the needs of my adult clients. I have taught Junior College students, housewives, retirees and volunteers of different nationalities and from all walks of life public speaking skills or storytelling techniques. Though the adult learners may walk into my class 'dog-tired' or even 'brain-dead', there is never a dull moment. There is interaction, participation, and of course, laughter.
One of my most rewarding experience was a workshop for beginner teachers at the Singapore Discovery Centre on how to use storytelling techniques to teach National Education (NE) values. I was part of a team of storytellers from Asian Storytelling Network that conducted the course.
National values are important in every country. Without values, there is no humanity nor humility. But, how do you teach young adults who are going to teach the 21st century teenagers and children to feel and think about Singapore? How do you do it without 'forcing it down their throat'?
The answer: Personal Storytelling
During the workshop, a young lady in one of the groups shared her personal story of going from riches to rags, and then to rising up to study hard and making it possible together with her family. She described her appreciation of ordinary things like clothings and accessories and of getting a thrift haircut. There was not a dry eye in her group. Now, that's a true and convincing story of resilience. The other members were given permission to tell her story to others and because they applied the basic techniques they learnt, they could tell it well and convincingly.
Recently, I taught some young adults from the Radio Club of ITE West phonetics. The knowledge of phonetics would hone their storytelling skills when they speak on air. This was a course conducted by Asian Storytelling Network. After learning the IPA symbols, the young adults had to decipher mystery sentences written in phonetic symbols. It was exciting and the young people made new discoveries about how we have often mispronounced common words such as 'question'.