Teaching Should be...
Teaching should make learning a beautiful experience in a child’s life. The foundation years are significant as they set a base for the young ones and most of the neural connections happen at this time. Children are like sponges that soak up everything they are exposed to. They have a natural desire to explore and learn, and there’s no better way than having them explore the world around them. A preschool class should nurture the curiosity of children. Hands-on activities are the best way to feed these curious minds. Sensorial experience helps children to look at things differently and find answers to their questions. It's only through activity, through an experience children derive to a conclusion. They are able to explore the environment t to the fullest. It's natural for a child to get bored in the classroom where teaching is bound to books and pencils. Children want to touch and feel things around them.
Experiential teaching is one of the amazing ways to teach children. It helps develop a child’s motor skills, cognitive skills, and social-emotional skills. It helps children to be connected with nature as they are given the opportunity to explore the world by themselves. It keeps young minds interested and engaged. It's learning with activities, learning while doing, this kind of learning helps a child to build memory and retain information for life. It requires the child to derive to a conclusion. Being completely hands-on children thoroughly enjoy their classes. There is often a sense of pride and accomplishment after a task. It helps build their confidence and self-esteem. Also, this kind of learning gives learners the confidence to do things differently and try new ones. For example, whilst we were exploring the topic ‘water’ I asked the children to indulge in a project, called ‘rain in a jar’, rather than just telling them the process of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. I was amazed to see the children present their work and the knowledge they had acquired during the activity. Children are able to relate to real-life situations with experiential learning. If they are learning addition, they are able to add the toys they have, count, and add the cookies they ate throughout the week. It also prepares them for real-life situations. Sometimes a child may not be able to do an activity, it prepares them to overcome challenges and failure. A mind that is always ready to try new ways.
Hands-on and interactive learning also allows collaborative learning. It gives children an opportunity to bond socially and emotionally with the people around them. Children come up with alternative ways to look at things. Learning is definitely not restricted to academics but also about life skills.
Experiential teaching and learning lead many minds to come up with ideas and strategies to solve the problem, lead a team, be empathetic to people and other living things around you. This kind of learning is certainly not restricted to a right or wrong way, it’s a unique way of doing things that instill a sense of pride in the learner and the teacher.
No two children are alike, every child is special. So how can the learning abilities be the same for everyone? Every child is able to do tasks at a different time, it could differ for weeks or months. Teaching should be differentiated to meet specific goals based on the specific needs of the learner. Differentiation helps to push the learner to his or her best, and can be with instructions, level of thinking and materials. When materials and instructions are best suited for the child it brings the best in them. They are challenged and engaged in a task. For example, a child who finds adding single-digit numbers a cakewalk will certainly be bored in class where everybody is doing single-digit numbers, However, differentiation can help to create a challenge for the young one, if addition is with doubled numbers. This kind of differentiation will challenge the child and keep him interested and engaged for the class. Differentiation also helps to keep our expectations in check and therefore give children time and nurture them to grow and develop, socially and cognitively at their own pace.
Whiles learning to develop fine motor skills, differentiated material helps children to stay on the task and develop their hand muscles. Using pencils that have a grip to hold on to, it eases the pressure to write, clay molding activities, or just paper tearing, materials, and instructions when differentiated bring the best in a child's overall growth and development.
If children learn differently, they surely have different ways to express themselves. Not necessary all will draw and color, one might sing, other may write or may paint. A child has a hundred ways to express, so let's not take away ninety-nine!
Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Approach, describes the "infinite ways that children can express, explore, and connect their thoughts, feelings, and imaginings."
The poem hundred languages of children by Loris Malaguzzi The child has a hundred languages
A hundred hands
A hundred thoughts
A hundred ways of thinking
Of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred.
Every teacher must make learning experiential and differentiated for children. As children learn best with play way method and discovery. As Walt Disney rightly said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” So as a teacher its my effort to bring some magic in my class leaving the young minds spellbound with the creative opportunities that lie ahead of them.