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

To Each Their Own: Learning Styles

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But to say that all children in a particular class learn optimally through a single teaching style is clearly an outdated strategy.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

 

CHILDREN, school, teacher, Uncategorized

ALTRUISM AT ITS BEST

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The dictionary states the meaning of ‘altruism‘ as unselfish regard or devotion to the welfare of others .

If that be so , there can be no better champion of altruism than a teacher .

A teacher is ‘born’ for the sake of children.

Its very difficult to pinpoint the moment when her / his altruistic journey begins.

There is no course or syllabus that can totally equip the teacher  with the much needed  ‘ child facing techniques’. There are hundreds of theories that she/he rote learns but none prepares them for dealing with the most spontaneous , pure and intelligent of the species – the child.

All theories fly out of the window when the teacher is left alone in a class full of expectant and dynamic energies.

There is no single glove that fits all hands , there is no single trick that works the magic.

Gauging , innocent , mysterious eyes watch every single move of the teacher (no mother in law in any Hindi serial can beat this 🙂 )

She is ‘one’ and the class is ‘ many’. And the teacher is devoted to all.

The teacher  does not give up.

Emotions are at the heart of what teachers do and why they do it. Educators take up  teaching with dreams of changing the odds for disadvantaged children, inspiring a love for learning or developing critical thinkers.

Maths and Language are taught through books  but there are no periods  for teaching ‘thank you ‘ ‘please’ and ‘ May I ?’.

Those are not a part of the teacher’s  penned down role and responsibilities , but it’s a given.

Teaching is an emotional practise but no teacher training college has a curriculum that helps them build these competencies.

The teacher takes it up very very bravely and goes ‘beyond the curriculum’.

She still does not give up.

A teacher is required to be omnipresent . The Prime Minister of a nation can manage to take a trip overseas but the teacher finds it impossible to leave the class even for a minute . Tired muscles and aching feet – a smiling child is all they need !

The school bell rings but it doesn’t cut off the teacher’s umblical cord. She carries the children in her heart and mind (and these days the phone 🙂 as well )

Her family is the audience to a hundred tales of  children in  her class. Their antics , their concerns , their behaviour is passed around more than the casserole at the dining table . Her students squeeze into her ‘family time ‘ so very neatly.

There are so many rules in the school almanac that talk about how to deal with children.

But there is no rule  in the Parent Handbook that talks about ‘How to treat your child’s teacher?’.

She faces parental disappointments , their anxieties and fears like a champ.

She still doesn’t give up

Literacy is a given goal but she takes great effort in cultivating emotional literacy as well. She diligently makes progress notes, tracks family history and studies children’s behaviour in the playfield, library and all arenas out of the classroom as well. Does she need to do that ?

I guess not but still does so , for some strange reason.

There are many  who dare to mock and call her ‘just a teacher . The pay cheque at the end of the month never spirals her  to the HNI segment , nor entitles her to enjoy  a bank’s wealth management services.

She still does not give up.

Children graduate to the next class and eventually storm the world and make their own niche place. Some come back with an occasional thank you note and some do not. She knows that years later , she may just be reduced to a middle spot in the class photograph .

She still does not give up.

Rules and policies change more often than the text books  and many a times they clam and choke her.

She still does not give up. She is doggedly loyal to her children.

All she remembers is that those 20 or 30 or 40 cherubic faces in her class are dependent on her . And that gives her a motive.

No pay slip , no promotion and no appointment letter drives her. What drives her is that she feels ‘good about doing good ‘. She gets a helpers high . It is the children who energise her.

She neglects her health and willingly sacrifices her ‘me time ‘ for her class children.

She dares to nurture those ‘not borne from her womb’

Can there be a better example of altruism ?

On this Children’ s Day , let us salute these altruism unsung heroes and send out a cheer for them.