My approach to learning and teaching
Language is a form and means of Communication. It is closely related to human beings since it is the universal and exclusive characteristic of man alone.Language is basically a habit formation process. The unique ability of human brain to think, classify words in speech with the use of sounds.Language is an important tool to communicate, understand, read and write so that children can independently articulate their thoughts effectively. Language acts as a link that can be used to learn all the other subjects. Language gives order and organization to man’s thinking.The Purpose of Teaching Language is also bringing about abstract thinking in children where children understand deeply about things that do not exist in the concrete world eg.Justice, Freedom etcThe Goal of Language is facilitated education through Language.Purpose of teaching language is also to bring about cohesion with the other subjects using them across the curriculum. To be able to bring all the subjects with a common language .The aim of Language is to build on naturally acquired language ability, enriching it through the literature to making it an instrument of Abstract thinking.
Working with children in Pre Primary section of the school has given the fair understanding of how young children learn the language. Teaching them letters and words in isolation does not make any sense to children. Making them write letters over and over again does not create an association with the letter to a child. If importance is placed on handwriting skills in early years children lose confidence and take away their opportunity to explore.
According to Krishnakumar important function of language fulfil certain immediate purposes and one major function is to make some sense of the world and language acts as a very important tool. Children associate and connect language with experience that gets while using the objects they come in contact with. For children, words and actions put together are a set of experiences that they associate with that word. They build up relationships with the word and the experience and try to make sense of the world. As adults, we, therefore, need to immerse children in experiences, words, and actions. eg. For a child to know the word is muddy, the child needs to associate herself with the experience of mud and the feeling of muddy. As many as experiences that we as adults expose children to will the children develop experiences and associate it with the words and the use of those words to make sense of the world around them. One-sided instructions from the teacher in a classroom do not make any sense to a child unless it is associated with an experience that a child can link it to. Children soon start using words that they have made associations within there day to day dealing, they start adding new words to their language bank and are able to share their experiences. Children from an early age need to be made to feel secure about their expressions, they build up the confidence to use language as an important tool to make sense of the world.
A child when exposed to experiences with objects, feelings and made to feel secure about their expression develops the curiosity to know the world around him more and more.
When we see young children taking time to express, we need to understand that the child is trying and thinking hard to associate with the words in her vocabulary to express her thoughts. When we allow this processing time we saw the seed of fearless expression, thinking, exploring possibilities and articulation.
Expression of children coming in the first language needs to be motivated and celebrated to boost a child’s confidence in expressing.
From my practice as an IAAT Resident Teacher in a kindergarten class with children of age 5-6years, I have seen the practice of giving children an immersion in language by creating routines of the day which are more or less the same every day, variations are created within the routines and structure of the activities. Morning circles are designed where children repeat the same set of songs and rhymes for a month that is added to bring about reverence with nature. Use of beautiful words and actions in nature rhymes help association of actions with the words. Children get immense confidence when they are able to predict what will be coming next. With repetition, children can predict and they feel very confident about being able to predict. Children are immersed in words, actions and experiences.
Story Telling: Stories have been with humanity since humans existed, the cave age man carved his experiences in the form of stories to be known by his next generations to come in the form of paintings. Humans being social animals and they had an innate urge to share and show evidence their existence.
Stories always begin with self, we tell stories to our selves to others. Stories live with us and constitute a very important part of our thinking. As human beings we live in stories, we make sense of the world with the stories that we listen, they define us, they give meaning to the world to us and nourish us.
Stories from the foundation of Language development for children in early years of language development. Children connect to the stories that they are exposed to. Storytelling combined with visuals using props helps children imagine and live the story themselves. I have loved telling stories the most, by facilitating children by giving them a visual experience of the story helped them daydream and live the story. It has been sheer joy to see children glued to the movement of the story props and characters during the table storytelling sessions.
The narration of stories in various forms like Table stories with props that are repeated for 5 days where a child is exposed to beautiful words that are not simplified, cubed with the visuals of props so that the child experiences the story herself and goes in her own story land. Imagery stories designed to build connections with how a word looks helps children to visualize the letter and the story associated with it. Other narrations of stories using puppets and role play help children to visualize and experience the story.
From this stage language and vocabulary of every subject. A child who has been allowed to go through the secure stages of developing his language grows into a student who can understand and articulate her understanding when she grows up in school and higher on. Good understanding of language makes them better able to engage in socialization and to learn from their environment and from formal classroom instruction.
Learning and Teaching of Mathematics: Maths is much more than knowing to recite numbers from 1- 100 for a child in as early as a nursery. Young children start developing a sense of what numbers mean when they experience numbers and counting with purpose. Young children then evolve to understand the relation between numbers. Creation of concepts and activities help children to see patterns and relations between numbers.
My approach to learning and teaching of Mathematics is highly inspired by the Jodo Gyan method. Every concept needs to be looked at as a real problem in the child’s world by the creation of a concept, story, and drama to motivate the child to solve the problem. The child connects to the problem and finds its relevant to be solved. According to Shah Ji of Jodogyan Education has to be child-centred. Learning is driven by the teacher keeping the child in the centre. Mathematics is basically ideas developed from human practices. The mistakes of treating subjects in isolation create disinterest in children. Children need to know the process of discovery of concepts from the past, by creating relevant present-day experiences children rediscover the same for themselves. The process of discovery and creation of relevant present-day contexts for children is the vital tool in making Mathematics worthwhile for them. The next step is to facilitate the children in understanding the concept by exposing them to hands-on experience to solve the problem in the story. Once that is achieved the posing relevant questions related to the context that makes children move on from the concrete to the abstract. eg.Once the children have enough exposure to the number line with ganit mala, they graduate from doing things using Ganit mala to mentally think and come to systematic thinking to solve the problem and understand the concept. When children are exposed to above step by step graduation then application of the concept comes organically to them.
Teaching and Learning of Social Sciences: The purpose of teaching social science is to bring children closer to the activities in their social environment. The purpose is to bring about critical and creative thinking in children and to develop the process of scientific inquiry.Social Science forms act as a link to the sciences to bring about critical thinking amongst the children. It unites the physical sciences with the society.
The purpose of Social science is to develop a process scientific inquiry in children.The aim of social science is to bring about an urge to actively inquire about their physical and social surroundings.
Give space for differences: The purpose of Social Science is to help children understand the diversity that exists in the social environment and empathize with the standpoints of the people around them. Social science holds the responsibility to help children be able to accept different perspectives and viewpoints. Empathizing and looking at the problem from the other person’s eye to understand why she thinks or does something in a particular way.
Approaches to teaching the subject
A. Understanding of Social environment
Collection of Information: Encouraging a child in knowing about things around her to collect the understanding of the social activities around her environment. In the next step of the inquiry process, the child needs to be probed with questions about the information she has gathered.
Children tend to forget the information about their environment but we need to teach them to find the information when needed. Children should be encouraged to question and look for sources to find answers to their questions.
B.Coordination and integration with other subjects like Language and Sciences to build the ability to link the information from different subjects.
Eg. If the science is dealing with the Manufacturing and Production of Steel, Social Science can look at why was there a need to produce steel, how and where did it start, how was it done then and back to science as to how is it done today. This inquiry can further be taken to different Types of Metals Processing methods, How they evolved, Why was it in demand, Evolvement of manufacturing Process, The impact on Nature and environment.
3.Language as a tool: Children will embark the learnings and will be able to relate the social sciences with the science and Language plays as a most important tool for communications of children’s understanding and brings about learning of the language that is typical to that subject.
4.Connection with the present: Exposing the children to the history of the event and giving them the data as a timeline and questioning children with various questions that bring about critical thinking
eg. What if in a particular sequence of events one even did not happen and have them come up with the logic. This process with helping them link the cause and effect of the events in the past and why and where they are applicable to today’s learnings.
Role plays to make children visually experience the situation.
5.Creating contexts such that children can understand and relate the issue in the real sense eg.For a Topic like Fundamental rights
Children can be introduced to the feeling of not having some fundamental rights and empathize with the situation of not having them to value and understand the importance and relevance.
The feeling of not having rights and discriminated can be further linked to the other aspects of social sciences like Government, Democracy, Gender Equality etc.