On January 21st, 2023, Lorelei Batislaong shared with us her unique approach to teaching ukulele in the elementary classroom.
Lorelei’s carefully crafted workshop offered very child-friendly exercises and visuals to teach the ukulele, which can often be tricky instrument to teach young children, as method books can be so focused towards older learners. Teachers experienced the thoughtful scaffolding that is unique to Lorelei, from finger warm-ups to strumming pattern visuals and finger picking patterns. Those in attendance not only had a ton of fun, but were even challenged themselves, as Ms. Batislaong covered ukulele techniques of strumming, chunking, and finger picking through engaging repertoire, which spanned from a Philippines folk song to “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. The workshop definitely gave teachers insight on where students might struggle in their learning process and Lorelei was able to offer tips and tricks on how trouble shoot students’ (and our own!) challenges.
Throughout the workshop, Lorelei never neglected the cultural context from which the ukulele and songs we learned emerged. Through a series of videos, she deliberately and tactfully started conversations amongst teachers to consider the implications of colonialism on how we view the songs we teach and the process in which we teach them. As a Filipina-American, Lorelei shared some anecdotes from her own life with her great sense of humour and vulnerability, allowing us into her world and as a result, thoughtfully considering the implications of how we teach the future of the world.
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