CHILDREN, Coronavirus, learning styles, Lockdown, parenting, school, Socialdistancing

WHEN NORMAL WAS BORING

 

lockdown 2

History must be chuckling at us as it has a totally new chapter to write today.

The word ‘lockdown’ will now get a new meaning in our lexicon and who knows , how many synonyms will this term have .

The lockdown has brought so many facets of our life to the fore.

Thinking aloud , I bring one such thought to the fore – When Normal was boring.

When going to work everyday was a drudgery.

When travelling in the metro was a crowded boring experience.

When going to school everyday , as a teacher or a student , was monotonous.

When checking examination papers was tedious and appearing for exams was dreadful.

When School assemblies were thought of as repetitive and regimented .

When sitting in the classroom was an ordeal and chit chat in the staffrooms was meaningless gossip.

When getting a pedicure done was a ‘have to do chore’ and ordering stuff online was routinely boring.

When workout sessions in the gym were a drag and a jaunt to the close by Shopping Mall was insipid

When Sunday visits to extended family was a “have to go there “ affair and attending weddings was a social compulsion.

When buying fruit from the Sunday bazaar was a noisy affair and one which I just had to do !

Ah ! wouldn’t I give my left arm today for a juicy Pizza Hut treat or a Mediterranean salad ?

For a walk in the crowded Dilli Haat or a distant relative’s wedding.

For a real classroom with real children drowning me in their vivacious cacophony.

For a walk in my school and a high pitched warm “Good morning mam “.

For a push in the airport queue and a jostle in the transit shuttle.

When whims of the heart and were just a call away for awesome fruition .

Such is life !

When normal was boring and the heart craved for a break from the boring.

And now , the same heart yearns for the boring to be back !

So how many of you out there are praying for the normal to be back ?

What are you missing the most ?

Come, let’s talk about it

 

 

 

CHILDREN, learning styles, parenting, preschool, school, Uncategorized

COMPETITION

competitionWhile surfing through the net I chance upon this picture (pasted above) and that begins a debate within my mind.

It is human nature to compete. Competition is a good form for survival.  The newspapers, media, hoardings, advertisements are copiously overflowing with multiple  brands/ individuals/ products  competing against each other. And this is what our children see, read and experience everyday. Competition against each other.

But if we talk about education & schools, should the focus of all learning be centred around competition?

In schools, should the focus of all achievement be centred around competition?

Schools are the nurturing grounds for skills, values, academic expertise, friendships, community service, camaraderie, sharing and so on. The first lesson that a child learns outside the home is on the school grounds. Kindergartners experience their first singing, rhyming, dancing experience at school and if we turn each learning into a competition, how good is that for the child?

Children develop their gross motor & fine motor skills at Preschool .They learn to balance, jump, run, skip, dodge and catch. Should we turn each of their dance moves, stage moves, dabbing skills, running, colouring skills into competition? How good is that for the child?

Children are developing their language skills at Preschool and picking up new rhymes and songs and stories. Should we turn their entire learning experience into a competitive one? How good is that for the child?

What they learn at ages 0 – 6 is actually the roots of all life skills  and yet we hurry to pitch their colouring skills against each other, their writing skills against each other, their recitation skills against each other.

Firstly, no two children are alike.

Secondly, each child learns at his or her own pace.

So it follows that Every Child is Unique. So how do we set up competition benchmarks between two children that are completely unique from each other?

A certain amount of competition is healthy and natural.  It helps us develop a perspective and set a few goals. But to use this as a constant so early in a child’s life proves detrimental to our students in the long run. It is no wonder then, that we have anxiety, panic attacks and depression within our Formal classrooms.  Each learning experience need not turn into a competition. If we indulge in too many competitions at the very beginning of a child’s school life, it robs the joy, the pleasure and the thrill of attending school. It deprives the child of bonding opportunities with friends. It robs the joy out of a pure learning experience.

One of the best ways to beat this is to shift the focus.

Shift the focus from competing against others to competing against self.

Train yourself & your child to think on these lines:

  • Did I read better than yesterday?
  • Did I run faster than day before?
  • Did I share more than last week?
  • Did I take lesser time to solve my puzzle in my second attempt?
  • Did I learn a few more dance moves this week?
  • Did I laugh more than what I did yesterday.

And of course:

  • Did I feel more comfortable with Maths this week?
  • Did I score better in Science this time than my last test?
  • Did I learn a new sport this year?
  • Did I cultivate a new hobby this year?

If we focus on a pattern of self improvement rather than competition, then our children will naturally develop better habits and values.

There will be less of envy, jealousy and hatred.

Our children will strive to be better version of themselves each day.

And that’s what the true aim of education is. To create a better self and to be lifelong learners.

To practice the same will of course be a journey and not a day’s affair. But let us start thinking differently.

Let us make a beginning.

Happy parenting!

 

 

CHILDREN, learning styles, parenting, preschool, school, teacher, Uncategorized

To Each Their Own: Learning Styles

Picture1

 

I clearly remember the Chalk and Board days when my teacher used to teach my class of 40 students in a uniform style or strategy and most of us used to end up giving a chorused reply.

I am sure many of you have also grown up in similar classrooms as front-benchers and back-benchers.

The point here is not to argue about the pros and cons of teaching methodologies of the years gone by. The point is to leverage and learn from what a huge body of Research now tells us.

A significant amount of Research is now available on the Importance of Foundation Years (0 -6 years of age).

This Research has thrown a lot of light on how Teaching – Learning strategies should be customized to Student – Learning preferences.

The simple logic behind this advocacy is that we are all born with certain learning preferences.

We may grow into certain learning styles with passage of time and add on to our innate learning styles – that’s a distinct possibility as well.

But to say that all children in a particular class learn optimally through a single teaching style is clearly an outdated strategy.

Teachers today practice varied teaching strategies that are suited for varied learning styles.

 As a parent, it is equally important for you to know the same.

Here is why you should know about various Learning styles inherent in young children:

  • Your little one shows no interest in a reading session but the minute you put on the audio version of the story, your child is all ears!
  • Your child is not interested in writing pages of continuous A’s , B’s and C’s but the minute you show them a picture and ask them to trace the letters underneath the picture, your child is all eyes!
  • Your child cannot decipher calculations like 2 + 2 = 4 but the minute you draw some match stick figures and explain addition, your child gets the right numbers.
  • Your child is a shy speaker and refuses to sing a rhyme or a song at home, but the minute you put on the audio version of the rhyme, your child is happy to sing along.
  • Your child doesn’t remember the colour of fruits like orange or strawberries but the minute you let the child touch and feel a real strawberry / orange, your child remembers their colour for a long time afterwards.

 To understand the above better, let’s talk about certain Learning styles in detail.

For classroom and children related learning, we often talk about four major learning styles:

 Visual Learning style – Children with a dominant visual learning style, learn better through pictures, colour coded lines, posters, charts, graphs, videos, diagrams, detailed notes, directions on a map etc.

They love to read a story or a poem, learn faster if the text in the story has visual effects, recognize text and pictures easily in storybooks, hoardings and Bill Boards.

Auditory Learning style – Children with a dominant auditory leaning style learn better through reading aloud, self-talk, audio books, recording & listening to directions.

They love to set a rhythm to their rhymes and stories, hum along a poem, give sound effects to what they are writing and love to listen to audios repeatedly. They may also love to have an audience who is forever willing to listen to their chatter, their rhymes and their songs.

Kinaesthetic Learning style – Children with a dominant Kinaesthetic Learning style learn better through drama, role play, charades, gestures, hands on activities and enactment. In short, they learn better through doing things themselves.

They love to act out a story, watch others act it out, like to touch and feel objects & props, are more open to physical gestures of affection like shaking hands, holding hands, putting arms around each other, dancing & miming.

Reading & Writing Learning style – Children with such a dominant learning style learn better through comic strips, learn better if someone explains to them in detail on paper, write their homework assignments, learn rhymes & stories after writing them out, learn through the print word in books, newspapers etc.

They love to read all instructions before attempting a puzzle or a game, refer to dictionaries, underline words while reading, play games like Scrabble and eventually like to take notes in class, write a diary about their day to day routine, as they grow up and join Formal school.

Needless to say, our children often display an eclectic mix of several learning styles during any given task as well. Your child may like to sing, dance, mime and read story books aloud at the same time. Which is also fine! Young children are often experimenting and developing their learning styles during the Foundation years.

An introduction to varied learning styles helps a parent to provide the right environment at home, understand children better and refrain from building stereotypes around their learning graph

If a child is not happy while writing, it does not mean that he/ she is not learning at all. It could just mean that maybe you need to vary your strategy.

If a child is not happy reciting rhymes in front of a group, it does not mean that he/ she is not learning. It may just mean that your child is exercising his/ her right to remain quiet.

So parents, loosen up your seat belts and enjoy the journey.

One style does not fit all.

Happy parenting.

Warm Regards,

Manjit Legha

Director, Academics & Training