Dr Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal and using picture books for character building

Dr Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal and using picture books for character building

Friday, 15 January 2016

Dr Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal, Assistant Professor at the Early Childhood and Special Needs Education Academic Group at NIE, was invited by the International Board on Books for Young People in Western Australia to give a presentation titled “Grit and Gumption, Sass and Verve: Learning from Multicultural Picture Book Biographies” on 22 September 2015. It explored text-sets of picture book biographies by award-winning authors and artists representing various forms of giftedness such as artistic, literary, and musical skills et cetera, linking them to the socioemotional and intellectual traits of gifted people, as well as the common socio-affective problems that come with having a different level of awareness and sensitivity. These inspired and well-crafted biographies of resilient individuals were shared and discussed, in the hope that readers would identify with the characters and realise how the road to excellence can prove to be an arduous but meaningful journey.

She was also the Guest Speaker at a Professional Development (PD) workshop for teachers titled “Welcoming ‘The Others’ on the Wings of Peace through Multicultural Picturebooks: Using Children’s Literature to Promote Inclusive Practices in the Classroom” by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Held on 23 September 2015 in Western Australia, the workshop looked into socially inclusive books which tackle difficult topics, highlighting the presence of ‘the others’ in society, such as those with special needs, giftedness, non-traditional families, migrants, the elderly or the sick. It is hoped that exposure to such picture books will assist in developing prosocial behaviours such as compassion, empathy, and understanding among children.

Locally, she was invited by Raffles Girls School (Secondary) to conduct a PD workshop for their teachers, titled “Using Multicultural Picture Books for Character Building and Compassion” on 28 October 2015. The workshop was attended by 18 teachers, and they were introduced to multicultural picture books that would build their capacity to use these reading materials to teach citizenship, core socio-emotional values such as self-identity and relationship management in order to develop care and compassion for others in society.

Dr Garces-Bacsal is the Principal Investigator of OER 15/14 RB: Reading Lives and Practices of Singapore Teachers and the Use of Multicultural Children’s Literature to Promote Socio-emotional Learning