Muscat: For the last three days before the holidays, the middle school students at TAISM took a break from their regular classes to learn a few new things during "mini courses."
Students had a plethora of mini courses to choose from, some physical, some arts-based, some mental, and others related to topics such as volunteerism or cooking. Each student took four courses, all of which were taught by the middle school teachers.
Learning new things
"I love it! I like physical education the most, so my favourite mini course is three-on-three basketball. I'm also learning new things," said Henk van de Wetering, a student of grade seven, taking a break from a drumming circle course.
In addition to drumming and basketball, Henk was also enrolled in abstract painting and a recording studio course, in which students learned about music production.
Grade eight student Dana Sultan said she loved the three days of mini courses because there is no homework and she can learn about many different things. Her courses included writing comic books, a game show course called "Minute to Minute," and "Holiday Kitchen Chemistry," which combined science and baking.
"I learned never to leave something alone on the stove or it will overflow," Dana said with a laugh.
While the mini courses are much loved by the students, they are also good fun for the teachers, who get to see their students in a new environment.
Science teach Darcy Hindash, who led the "Holiday Kitchen Chemistry," said it was fun to share her love of baking with the students, some of whom she'd never taught before. She also got to teach chemistry in a creative, fun way that produced tasty results.
A different method
"We get to see a lot of different students that we don't see in class. It's a different way to teach and it's nice to share this with the kids," she said.
Music teacher Denis Bell, who taught drumming, said the mini course allowed both the students and teachers to let their guards down, and let them try new things. "Students love to learn new skills while teachers get an opportunity to teach hobbies or their regular subjects in new ways," she said.
"I really like the mini courses. They give me an opportunity to see the students in a new light," she said, before turning her attention back to the noisy but happy drummers.