Saturday, June 26, 2010

hands on learning - continued

Today, we bring you another blog post by a guest blogger, Ms. Shreya Dhruve.

Shreya is a teacher at kindergarten classes of K. J. Bhalodia School at Rajkot, Gujarat. In a two part series, she talks about the hands on learning concept which is now accepted as the best way to teach basic concepts to preschool children. This is the second post on this topic, and you can read part one of from last week here.



Learning by Doing

by Shreya Dhruve

Last week, I talked about the effectiveness of doing (as against just lecturing) -- as a tool in helping preschool children learn. Following are a few practical examples that demonstrate how hands on learning can be implemented. Use these techniques to teach your kids the basic concepts of writing, counting etc.

Alphabets and numbers can be taught by using clay molds, counting icecream candy sticks (available at most general stores) or string beads. Encourage children to write on sand in a play area.

Colors can be easily taught using toys. Games such as toy hunt (hidding toys and searching them based on colors) make it an interesting activity for a child.

Values such as sharing, honesty, team work, hygiene are best explained with day to day activities, stories and at times act outs.

Concepts like shelter:
After teaching the different types of housing options such as apartments, bungalows, row houses, etc, from the books, children can be taken around the neighborhood and later asked to draw the same on paper.

Quantity and comparision:
Comparitive concepts of long and short, more and less, big and small, hot and cold, can be taught by using day to day objects such straws, sticks, vessels, vegetables, etc. Concepts of long and short, big and small, ascending and descending, thick and thin, can be taught using practical objects as chalks, pencils and scale. Encourage children to handle these objects while you teach them.

When taught this way, children tend to grasp the concepts better, and they can retain and recall this information very easily.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

hands on learning

Today, we bring you our first blog post by a guest blogger, Ms. Shreya Dhruve.

Shreya is a teacher at kindergarten classes of K. J. Bhalodia School at Rajkot, Gujarat. In a two part series, she talks about the hands on learning concept which is now accepted as the best way to teach basic concepts to preschool children. This is the first post on this topic, and she will write a follow up post next week.

I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as we did.


Hands on Learning (Part 1 of 2)

Learning by Doing

by Shreya Dhruve

Hands on learning is learning by doing. It is the only way students can directly observe and understand concepts. Hands on learning make students active participants instead of passive learners who just listen to lectures. Lecture is one way teaching -- the teacher speaks while students listen. It is monotonous, while hands on learning makes the topic interesting and simplified.

As a teacher, I experience many a times how hands on learning supports lagers and slow learners. Using this method, they learn the concepts easily. If a concept is taught only theoretically, students tend to memorize the concept instead of understanding it. When they lack understanding, they gain nothing! Hands on learning is an interactive teaching process. The teacher explains a concept with practical demonstration using different objects, experiments etc. Later, children perform the same task using different manipulative objects like clay, blocks, legos, candy sticks etc.

Hands on learning can be useful to explain various topics of math -- greater & less than numbers, tens & units, addition & subtraction etc. Teaching comparative verbs like -- heavy/light or thick/thin can be easily taught and students tend to better retain most of the concepts. For e.g. when we teach patterning, we teach through various objects like -- on board, manipulative etc. Later we let children create their own patterns. Using this method, each child thinks and develops his/her creativity.

In conclusion, I urge every teacher to make learning interesting and easy for children by using hands on learning/activities. Start by explaining the concept theoretically and practically, and later allow children to apply the concept by doing something on their own. It will encourage them to think creatively and differently, ultimately helping them become critical thinkers. After all, each child is unique and special. All they need is an opportunity to learn by doing.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

a good start!

I had a difficult week. Big "A" joined pre-school.

My week was difficult because I was adamant on making his transition to preschool as smooth as possible. In this process, I had a chance to meet and talk with other mothers whose kids have just started going to school, and I learnt several interesting facts. One of the facts is, its almost always difficult for a child to adjust to a new life outside of home when they first start going to a play group or pre-school or school.

Schools handle this difficult transition in two different ways.

“A” joined a school, that is just a play school and kindergarten, and does not have classes beyond Upper KG. He started with Lower Kg. He joined at a much later age than other kids. In fact, he was the only child in his class who had not attended a preschool previously. Most of his classmates are well settled. Hence, it was relatively easy for the teacher, to handle and comfort a single child. Besides, the coordinator of the playschool, Mrs. Surbhi Kapadia, went out of her way, to see that it was not a traumatic experience for most of her students. I was allowed to be with "A" in his classroom for a couple of days and then was allowed to pick him up early, as 4 hrs (the school timings are 9am to 1pm ) at a stretch, would be too much for him to bear initially. I was allowed to be within the school premises for a few days, and was allowed to console him a couple of times when he got upset, and then send him back to the class. Although "A" is still not 100% settled, and he has moist eyes while entering the class, I can say he has had a relatively smooth transition compared to other children. After talking to several anxious mothers, I realize this approach is adopted by several institutions that are not regular schools but just kindergartens. Some of these schools even encourage the parent to be with the child for a week or so, till the child is comfortable. Some have webcams that allow parents to watch their child, while others allow parents to watch the child, without the child knowing about it. Believe me, this is a lot of assurance to the anxious parent...

Now, a look at the other approach.

Most of the so called regular schools, which have classes till class 10, use a different approach. Many of them do not allow parents to be in the class even on the first day, and are allowed to meet their children only after the regular day is over. They are not even allowed to be within the school premises. Parents have to handover their fearful trembling little angel in the hands of unknown teachers and caretakers and then, just leave! Most of these schools believe that you need to be strict right from day 1, else it will be difficult to control children later. Children, no matter how disturbed or upset, are not allowed to see the parent, while, the parent, however anxious, is not allowed to meet the child till the day ends.

In both these approaches, by the end of the first week, all is well. At least, it seems so. The child sort of accepts the new change in his life. But as a mother, it does makes me think if the second approach, the one adopted by the regular schools, is a right way to start a beautiful journey. Isn't it a traumatic experience for the parent and the child, and can't it be done any differently?

If we, the parents, can be sensitive towards our children, and send them to school only at an age when they are ready and not hurry it up for our convenience, and if schools, with the cooperation of parents, can be a bit liberal in their approach, I strongly believe, this can be a beautiful beginning.

Next weekend, I will write a detailed post on how you can teach your child at home to read at an early age.

Have a nice week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

tad the lad

Aryan has been doing well in his reading sessions. I made small illustratiion cards and then made a booklet of those cards. As a result, he seems to be reading faster and better than last week.

By the end of the week, I ended up making several booklets for him to read.

In this small video, Aryan reads the booklet, Tad, the lad. I think by the end of next week, he should be able to read randomly from all the booklets with confidence.

Have a nice week. Take care.