In the 2018 spring semester, Ching-Yi took a team of student teachers and volunteers to teach violin to English as Second Language (ESL) students, many of whom are refugees, attending Bowling Green High School. This team of teachers included undergraduate and graduate students studying music at WKU and young students from the WKU Pre-College Strings Program. The WKU faculty, WKU students, young adult volunteer, and the ESL students from Congo, Guatemala, Mexico, Nepal, Somalia, and Tanzania are forming long-term relationships through teaching or learning how to play the violin.
The initial funding for this project came from the WKU Sisterhood Grant. Fifteen violins were purchased and now own by WKU. The main benefits of this project are three-fold: 1) WKU students are getting hands-on teaching experience in an unconventional setting while serving their community and enhancing their own social and communication skills. 2) The ESL students who otherwise may not afford music lessons are gaining the many benefits of learning a musical instrument. 3) Many young adults in our community currently studying the violin are given the opportunity to be student helpers.
The coupling of WKU student teachers, the community, and ESL students provide not only the opportunity to establish relationships, but to develop compassion for different cultures, and nurture the discipline and confidence that results from both learning and teaching an instrument. During these current fiscally challenging times, the arts and humanities suffer funding cuts. However, it is the arts and humanities that provide the foundation for a well-rounded education.
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