Sunday, Oct 20th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 06 December 2014 00:00

Improving Children’s Concentration through Baking

Written by  Koh Poo Leng, Klang / Translated by Tan Kiat

Teacher Tracy (left) prefers personal experience. Here, she was seen helping the children with baking flour. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Tzu Chi Continuing Education Centre (Klang) had successfully conducted their first “Children’s Baking Class” with participation from 13 children, aged five to ten years. During the two-hour session, the participants not only had fun but also learnt to be independent.


 
Located in Bukit Tinggi, Klang, Tzu Chi Continuing Education Centre (Klang) is a serene retreat in the bustling city. Opened since 2005, its elegant and comfortable environment has provided a quiet setting for learning, relaxation and spiritual enhancement.
 
The Children’s Baking Class was held on every Saturday from November 1 to December 6, 2014, under the guidance of teachers. Besides learning how to bake, children also learnt about humanistic culture in life.
 
Incorporated humanities into learning
 
“Students, what do you do after baking?” asked Tracy Lau, the teacher in charge. Although she was feeling unwell, she kept reminding the students to tidy up their tables. At the last class on December 6, 2014, Teacher Tracy did not slack off as she wanted the children to learn to stand on their own two feet, besides learning the craft.
 
On her friend’s invitation, Teacher Tracy started conducting baking classes at the Continuing Education Centre five months ago. Since then, she could be seen at Melaka, KL & Selangor, and Klang Centres. 
 
Having taught students from different countries, Teacher Tracy is familiar in working with children of different characters. She said, “Asian kids are afraid to try. Hence, during my lesson, I would get them to touch and to understand, not just watching, as that simply will not help the learning.” She advocated that children need to be responsible for their actions, thus she encouraged parents to give their kids a free hand, especially in the kitchen.
 
She firmly added, “Although there may be cuts and burns initially, they will learn through experience and will be more careful the next time. If you stop them, you would only hinder their passion and creativity.” Her unique teaching method had won praises and admiration among volunteers, especially Tan Yoke Bee, who said, “Teacher Tracy is superb in keeping the class under control, and she is able to hold the children’s attention. Honestly, this needs a lot of patience.” 
 
The class was made possible through a good teacher and parent’s enquiry. When Tzu Chi Klang ran the baking class, it was arranged for every Saturday as on this day, the children do not have to attend tuition. So, this will enable them to enjoy baking and learning Tzu Chi humanities instead.
 
“Nowadays, children are very precious to their parents. Under Teacher Tracy’s teaching method, they are trained to be independent and helpful,” Yoke Bee added.
 
Made learning fun through creative baking
 
“Well, students, are all cookies done? Now, let us learn how to make some chocolates,” Teacher Tracy said. “Great! I love chocolate...” was the response from all the excited children, except six-year-old Zhang Sheng Yu. The latter felt sad because he knew that would be their last lesson.
 
Sheng Yu is a creative child, who can create some amazing work. For example, when the teacher taught panda-shaped buns, he creatively produced a rabbit and train-shaped buns. His creations had impressed all volunteers. 
 
Sheng Yu spoke softly, “What? I do not want this to be my last class; I want to continue. Teacher Tracy is a very wonderful teacher.” His dismay could be felt by others.
 
Besides Sheng Yu, Liao Jia Yi also felt sad. She said, “I am feeling down but luckily my mum said she will let me join again if there is any baking class coming up.” Seven-year-old Jia Yi enjoys cooking and baking. She always helps her mother to make pastries and cookies, so she has some basic knowledge in baking. In this class, she was exposed to different types of cakes and cookies. She also loves making cupcakes, simply because it is simple, yet delicious. 
 
Initially, Jia Yi could not accept the teacher’s request to clean up after each class. She said, “The teacher is very strict; she always wants us to keep our things in order. Now, we will clean up after each class on our own initiative.” From resistance to acceptance, Jia Yi has clearly grown up under Teacher Tracy’s guidance.
 
Chen Ying Yi, a seven-year-old girl, who joined the baking class at the Centre for the first time, loved the environment. During the six lessons, she has made lots of friends and learnt a good variety of pastry recipes. She said, “I love baking pizza, because I love to eat pizza.” She would also share with her mum after each lesson.
 
 
Be it pizzas, cookies or chocolates; easy or difficult, the children were able to complete the tasks given to them successfully. What they need are words of encouragement and compliments. Through six lessons of baking, Teacher Tracy had not only taught the children baking skills but also moral and life’s values.
 
 
During the fourth lesson, children showed their buns of different shapes, and took a photograph with their teacher happily. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Tzu Chi Continuing Education Centre (Klang) invited Teacher Tracy to conduct six lessons on baking from November 1 to December 6, 2014. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

During the fourth lesson, children showed their buns of different shapes, and took a photograph with their teacher happily. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Tzu Chi Continuing Education Centre (Klang) invited Teacher Tracy to conduct six lessons on baking from November 1 to December 6, 2014. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Teacher Tracy advocated that children need to be responsible for their actions, thus had encouraged parents to give their kids a free hand in the kitchen. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Zhang Sheng Yu smiled happily with his creation of rabbit-shaped bun. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Teacher Tracy advocated that children need to be responsible for their actions, thus had encouraged parents to give their kids a free hand in the kitchen. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
 
Zhang Sheng Yu smiled happily with his creation of rabbit-shaped bun. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Liao Jia Yi attended the baking class for the first time and loved the environment. She has made lots of friends and learnt a variety of pastry recipes. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   In order to train the kids to be independent, they are requested to tidy up after each class. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Liao Jia Yi attended the baking class for the first time and loved the environment. She has made lots of friends and learnt a variety of pastry recipes. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
 
In order to train the kids to be independent, they are requested to tidy up after each class. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Tan Yoke Bee was pleased with the successful completion of the baking classes due to Teacher Tracy’s great experience. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]    

Tan Yoke Bee was pleased with the successful completion of the baking classes due to Teacher Tracy’s great experience. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]