HAKUBUN'S ROLE IN EDUCATION
Eliza, a fresh graduate, just started her first job as a teacher at an elementary school. As she entered the classroom for her first science lesson, she noticed the kids looked bored and restless.
She proceeded with the lesson, and when she looked back, she saw some students were dozing off. Their dull expressions showed how they were not paying attention at all.
“Is my lesson that boring?” she thought. “Why are they not paying attention and not that high-spirited?
“Do I need to do something?” So many questions came flashing across her mind. Eliza contemplated bringing this matter to the head principal if it persists.
The next day, Eliza was teaching her class as usual.
Around fifteen minutes into her lesson, she noticed no one had responded to her. So she brought up a question related to what she was writing on the whiteboard.
When turning around, she saw Mike, the student who sits the most front, was openly dozing off again. In contrast, Camille, the girl sitting behind him, was seen drawing and not paying attention.
“Oh my god,” she screamed inside the feeling of helplessness & disappointment accumulated inside her.
“Mike! You are not supposed to sleep in the class! Camille, why are you not paying attention during my lesson?!” Her high-pitched voice was enough to wake them up from their fantasies.
They realized their mistakes. The frustrations in her voice were unmistakable.
“What can I do to make all of them learn and enjoy my lesson?” But, unfortunately, no matter how hard she thinks, there’s nothing she can do.
The trouble followed her back on the way home that night. But, as it was her first job, she wanted to do well and hoped the kids would enjoy her teaching method.
As a fresh graduate, she has no prior experience or exposure in the teaching field.
She looked down and sighed.
She stopped in her tracks as she caught sight of someone’s pair of legs just an arm’s length’s away.
“Why is he-” She looked up and was surprised to see the unexpected.
“Eliza, right? Hi! It’s been a long time! How long was it, um, 5 five years?”
She could not believe whom she saw right then. The guy turned out to be her senior. They went to the same college and used to attend weekend services together.
“Henry! Oh my, it’s been a while too! I can’t believe I’d meet you around here!”
Well, she didn’t expect to meet him during the turmoil she was experiencing then, but somehow her mood lightened up upon his presence.
“I heard that you are an entrepreneur now, opening your education centers & franchises. Of course, as I expected, our college’s top student, Henry Jonathan.”
“I’m flattered. That was years ago.” He smiled. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“Anyway, it’s not just my effort. It’s my team’s effort as well. Having good team relationships and connections are important if you wish to broaden your horizons.”
He noticed her expression shifted slightly. He knew she was behaving differently but didn’t want to probe further. Yet, seeing her like this affected him as much.
“If something appears to be hindering you, feel free to share your problems.” She glanced at him several times before finally speaking up.
She finally let it out and shared her ongoing issue with the kids with him.
“Eliza, I’ve heard you. Allow me to express my thoughts. The teaching methods used in the past differ from ones that should be used today. Children today are not the same as they were in the past. As teachers or educators, we must always look for new and innovative ways to educate students and make them enjoy the process of learning.” Eliza listened to his words intently. What he said was the plain truth.
“In recent years, hands-on activities have become increasingly popular. It allows students to interact with physical objects, promoting critical thinking and active use of the five senses.”
“With that, I have someone I can introduce to you. He works at Hakubun, a company that creates educational toys for learning purposes.”
She was thrilled to know that he would introduce someone to her. This introduction made her feel thrilled and relieved that there was finally a solution to this problem.
“I’ll contact him and leave his details with you. Hope you are feeling better, Eliza.”
She nodded and expressed her thanks to him, her dear savior.
“If it goes through, you owe me a meal.” She smiled. “Anything for you, Henry! I owe you a big favor this time.”
Eliza was preparing for her first class of the day when one of the staff hollered her name.
“Someone’s here looking for you!” She put down her stuff and headed outside the teachers’ room.
She saw a man with a steely gaze and a sharp blue suit standing outside the door.
“Blue suit and cyan tie, hmm, interesting.” She thought.
“Are you Eliza? I’m Makiuchi from Hakubun.” She nodded.
They extended their hands respectively and greeted each other.
“Sorry for the long wait. There were other clients I needed to meet before you. I apologize.” She shook her head slightly. “It’s fine, no worries. I understand you have your busy schedule.” “Before I proceed to introduce our educational toys catalog, let me tell you more about Hakubun and its history if you don’t mind.”
“Sure, be my guest.”
“Our motto is to make children think through their hands. Therefore, we have what we call a “Hakubun Hand“ which comprises of 5 important elements in our product creation.” Mr. Makiuchi proceeds to explain in detail. Eliza listened to his explanation attentively as she nodded in agreement.
“Shall we proceed?”
“Our products are made from an adult’s perspective yet with a child’s point of view.” He showed some of the products to her.
“Our variety of products is to make sure they are attractive enough for the kids to use them.”
The whale-shaped product piqued her interest. “What does that do?” She pointed at it.
“It is a robot for coding programming teaching materials that do not use a PC or tablet.” He proceeds to explain more about each of the products he brought over from his office.
“We are constantly incorporating new technologies. Combined with our ideas and experiences, we develop products that make children smile.” he added.
“Through in-depth discussions and technology, we can bring the image to life more precisely.”
After that presentation, Eliza felt confident and wished to let the kids mingle with these toys and observe the result.
“Morning, kids!” That day felt different from usual days as they noticed something on the teacher’s desk.
“Miss Eliza, what are those?!” asked James, one of the kids. He approached the table.
Soon after, the rest of the kids gathered around, and they could not take their eyes off those toys.
Seeing those fascinated expressions, she knew she had made the right decision.
The kids were so intrigued. Those toys look exciting, and they are very tempted to touch.
“Are we playing with these today, Ms. Eliza?” asked Camille.
“Not only that, we are going to learn too, isn’t that amazing? I will show you, kids, the definition of learning through these toys. So, are you kids ready?!”
They nodded, the excitement gradually building up.
Eliza introduced each toy and summarised each of the functions and objectives. By explaining, she hopes the students understand and at the same time know what they are going to achieve.
As she assigned the toys to respective students, she also handed out worksheets to try figuring out the instructions independently as part of their critical thinking process.
They quickly grabbed their respective toys and proceeded to back to return to the space Eliza had cleared out previously for them to explore those toys in a much conducive area.
There was so much commotion, but all those were due to their excitement in trying out those toys. There was not an episode of a student falling asleep. Now everyone was focused on their own thing.
That made Eliza happy. The help and solution she received worked.
Eliza was happy that the kids got to play while at the same time having the chance to learn about science.
Eliza hopes to introduce this program to the principal and make this part of an experiential program for students for innovative learning.
As a teacher, she also realized that there’s a need to constantly think of ways to make learning more creative and innovative for students to love what they know.