I believe that it is the child in us that keeps all of us smiling, positive and energetic. My cherished mantra completely revolves round the fact that childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write and count. It is a small window of time to learn and develop skills at the pace which is specific, right and subjective for each individual child. There is nothing called as ideal time or earlier the better but each child has a unique pace to adapt different skills. The key is my belief that let the children be children.
“Liking kids” is not enough. Small children are unpredictable. They may test their teacher’s patience by being easily distracted or disruptive. There are days when some students are overly tired, hungry, not feeling well or just not in the mood to learn. A mentor should hence keep the flexibility to adjust lesson plans accordingly and not get stressed out over unforeseen issues.
Children are also just learning how to act appropriately on a social level when dealing with many other children, so there are behavior issues that must be dealt with. Well…. never try to discipline the children. Rather, I prefer to monitor the behavior and modify it whenever required. If a child is jumping in the class, then rather than punishing the child, understand her urge to jump and take her to the place where she can safely jump.At the early age when the brain is constantly busy with the boundless anatomical and physiological development, these weird urges are common to occur.
Try to integrate life skills in the daily routine and insist on keeping the environment child friendly so that it enables children to overcome their fear, reluctance associated with the initial separation anxiety.
Being a mentor, I’ve often observed that there is a general reluctance amongst children towards writing. So, instead of enforcing writing and making the task further difficult for them, why not develop some fun filled board games where children roll the dice and write the word which appears on it. The whole idea is to encourage the child imbibe the skill progressively with passion and not doing it just for the sake of filling up the pages in a monotonous way. Any task children do, they do it only after understanding the purpose.
I have often come across parents having concerns as, “My child is hyper active. How do you tackle this problem?” But I feel being hyperactive is no way a problem. It is simply that the child is kinesthetically intelligent. So a general tag on him as a naughty, inattentive distracted child will no way suffice to his needs. This child just needs constant movement. There is no need of a special attention to be given to him as he is no way special in terms of behavior, rather the right way of engaging him with fun-full energetic activities in the class would draw his attention to the fullest.
I would also like to mention that when we talk about the child centric methodology, a general recipe does not cater to the needs of all. It has to be specific. If a child is already on the top of the learning curve and the class is in the beginner’s stage, the child might get bored. So in the same class, it is necessary to make sure that the child is involved in the accelerated learning process with a proactive peer group teaching.
All what defines a memorable classroom to a child is the energy, smile and vibe of a mentor. So it is important to understand that in this modern, so called “hi-tech” based learning, it is not important whether a smart board talks in the class. Rather the mentor has to interact with the children with zeal.
According to me, No child is weak. It is the expertise of the mentor to tailor the tools subjective to each child’s needs. It is important for kids to be stress free so that they can stimulate their senses and analyze who they are. Each one is unique, vibrant and magical in his/her own way.