Children and Poems

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  • Dr. Nu Nu Win
  • When we were young, we participated in singing with activities and dancing with songs. While children were young they prefer participating actively in their classroom activities, especially using their active physical movements according to the rhythm and meaning of the songs. Have you ever seen young kindergarteners singing happily “Shint Nyo Lay, Shint Nyo Lay, Amee lay hlote tote tote” meaning “ little brown squirrel, with its fluffy tail, wiggling her tail from side to side.” At the same time they imagine themselves to be these little brown squirrels, happily waving their hands behind their backs as if these were fluffy tails of the little brown squirrels.
    Nowadays, the kindergarteners act happily as if they were galloping on the back of a brown horse, singing merrily “He’s coming galloping on a brown horse”. I think not only the children, but their teachers also enjoy acting along with them as if they were on horseback. Oh! What a scene!
    Singing with active participation can make both young and old happy.
    Especially for the young children and youths, it was a time when they were so young and energetic that if they did not get a chance to let out their energies in the classrooms, all their extra energy could burst out in other improper places, maybe in a fight using their physical strength to show off.
    So, we teachers and parents can create proper situations to allow children to use their extra energy properly by encouraging them to participate in singing and joining sing-along sessions with physical movements. In this way we may see the wonderful effects songs and music can have on children and youths.
    Nowadays, everybody can hear the song “Bo Aung Din” everywhere, being played aloud with loud speakers together with a duet dance of a couple in the pre-war period. Think of this song. There are no new or modern words and feelings in that song which can be sung with just a banjo. But, it can move the hearts of both young and old as the melody is very lively for an active dance. That is why this song became very much popular through the whole time during Tazaungdaing.
    It leads to the truth that songs and poems can make all young and old hearts come alive with energetic activities.
    The important thing is that we teachers and parents should have the idea how to put this into practice for children and youths in their teaching-learning process. If one has to study his lesson in the form of a written text, sometimes it can be very boring for him. But, if you change it into a poem or a song, it becomes easy to learn.
    For example, to learn the era and dynasties of Myanmar Kings such as, Bagan Era, Pinya Era and so on, it is not very easy and interesting to learn it by heart. But, if you make it into a poem as follows:
    “Pu, Pinn, Inn, Taung, Nyaung Yan Naung, Konbaung hnakhit khwe” which means, Pu = Bagan , Pinn = Pinnya, Inn = Innwa , Taung = Taungoo, and then we have Nyaung Yan Era and followed by Konbaung 2 Eras ( the First Konbaung Era and the Second Konbaung Era ).
    Learning through poems and songs not only makes lessons easy to learn, this process can generate loving kindness and non-selfishness by singing songs together or reciting poems together . It brings love and happiness to the young innocent hearts which can lead to togetherness and peace.
    We can also create patriotism and constructiveness in the minds of children through poems and songs. This morning I saw young children in a school singing our National Anthem whole-heartedly enjoying themselves in their own singing. It can generate feelings of loyalty for their Motherland and their Nation. And they continued to sing the song “Myanma Kyaungtha”. It can also teach them what they should do for themselves and for their country and nation.
    So also when we are learning moral lessons, instead of learning by heart the difficult Pali words, they can be trained with this poem in the following manner: “Lu mike ko thar shaung thway hlwe loh ma mhiwe net kin aung nay” which means “You should shun fools and should keep company with the wise”, as we learnt in our Thirty Eight Kinds of Auspiciousness ( Thone set Shitphyar Mingalar ). This way we can teach our young children what is good and what is bad, what is correct and what is incorrect. It can be more effective to learn by heart through this poem.
    Therefore, we parents and teachers should find ways and means for our young generations to learn what they should learn, whether it is a lesson or a text or a particular mindset or moral principles. The method of learning lessons through songs and poems is sure to be more effective than just reciting them by heart.
    More poems and songs for our children!
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