Children learn in different ways. Some react better to visual stimulus, others to audio instructions, some have a more dominant left-side and others a more dominant right-side (the side that is more receptive to being taught). This does not make teaching easy when you have to apply a one-size-fits-all methodology, however, teaching (and learning) can be much easier when it is fun.
There are many ways to engage children beyond the whiteboard, and with a little imagination you can treat your students to a teaching environment that can make them forget they are being taught.
There is considerable research demonstrating that for some children learning together helps retain the information they have been taught more effectively than learning on their own. Working together also aids social development, and grouping stronger learners together with weaker learners has been proven to help all students improve their general classroom behaviour and ability to hold on to information.
Are you struggling to teach your children about fractions or other mathematical concepts? Why not bring a cake into the classroom to demonstrate fractions, percentages or other abstractions that might be “dry” if you were to just use the whiteboard.
With hands-on learning, when they complete a task children can feel a sense of accomplishment. The experience can be transferred to other situations and children that might normally struggle in a classroom environment may feel more included in the learning process.
Every child loves a field trip. The options are limitless – seeing, touching and smelling (especially animals on a farm, for instance) bring life to the theory that you have been teaching in the classroom. Teaching children about nutrition can be enhanced by visiting a farm or allotments. Learning about natural history can come alive with a field trip to a museum, and it is something that they can carry through life and impart to their own children.
There are a million ways to provide practical and hands-on learning in the field. Get creative and your students will come alive with a desire to learn.
Children love technology. Whether it is a laptop, tablet, or desktop, the modern child is probably more familiar with the power of technology than you are (this could be an opportunity to learn together), Incorporate what they love doing in their spare time into the classroom environment and bring what they do at home into their learning. Some of the best apps we have seen are:
• Google Story Builder – an incredible app for creating stories as a group or individually.
• How To Draw – listen and follow instructions for learning basic drawing skills.
• The Elements: a visual exploration – an interactive app that teaches children how the elements make-up the world around them.
There are endless educational apps also disguised as games and choosing fun ones means your children will not even realise they are having a lesson.
Do not just stand on the side lines; get stuck in to whatever you are teaching. If it is a practical lesson, roll up your sleeves and show that you are enjoying the lesson as much as the children. Leading by example will teach your students a great lesson in life, not just in the classroom.
We were all children once and we know how dull the theory of a listen-and-learn lesson can be. Learning should be fun and when something is fun, it stays with you for life.