How can Teachers Support Children to Learn Better
Early learning classrooms aim at enhancing children’s learning and development through activities and play. Teachers play a critical role in supporting children through this in many ways, most importantly
Seven Modules for Better Learning Outcome
Making children independent
Listening: Teachers need to carefully listen and attend to young children’s conversations, enquiries, questions, and theories about the world. For example, if a child says, ‘a spider has many eyes,’ the Teacher may need to repeat and emphasize the same, ‘yes, you are right, a spider has many eyes – how did you know that?’ This tells the child that the Teacher has heard, acknowledged, and is helping extend the topic. The Teacher may further guide them to a book on insects, share a fact, or show a video expanding their curiosity and learning.
Modelling: One of the ways through which children learn is through observation and
imitation. Teachers need to consciously model different behaviours for children to pick up new concepts and skills. For example, while teaching one-to-one-correspondence for pre-numeracy, the Teacher can take five coins and five stones, and show exactly how every coin corresponds to a stone and tell the children the corresponding number. She can say: One stone – one coin, two stones – two coins and so on while counting and pointing. Children will see and repeat this. Similar modelling would occur in all routine behaviour – songs, actions, clay work, word pronunciations, and so on. Teachers must, therefore, be alert to what they
are saying and doing in the presence of the children.
Solving problems: Children are curious, constantly engaged in trial and error, and exploring new things. When children play with blocks, cardboard, or even in sand, they are trying to solve simple problems. How much water to add to the sand to make a good sand mould?
How to stick cardboard such that it can form a curve, or not get unstuck? How to place blocks or dominoes such that the tower or domino sequence does not break? The Teacher then provides scaffolds to the child in the form of questions (e.g., can you think about it in a different way?) or physical support (e.g., holding the cardboard while the child puts glue on it) or an idea to solve the puzzle (e.g., perhaps putting in the red piece first may help). Such scaffolding helps children imagine and think through solutions on their own.
Questioning: Children think while verbalizing their ideas. Questions from the Teacher will help them think through a particular subject in depth while responding. This also supports language development. For example, asking ‘why did you put the big block at the base?’ will help children verbalize the reason behind a choice they have made. It is important for the Teacher to be attentive to what children are doing in their play activities and ask relevant questions.
Provoking: Challenging children’s ways of knowing, thinking, and doing deepens their understanding of the world around. Children tend to pick up stereotypical notions based on what they see and hear around them. The Teacher needs to be proactive to question, to provoke and provide alternate perspectives e.g., picking a story that talks about the capabilities of a child with disability or women as bus drivers or pilots.
Researching: Teachers needs to provide children with tools and skills to learn how to understand their inquiry into a topic – where to look, whom to ask, what to use for solving questions and arriving at some understanding. Teachers themselves need to practice researching in order to understand children better, respond to their queries, and develop and conduct new activities to enhance children’s learning.
Making children independent
Making children independent: Planning well helps Teachers take active steps with
children to make them independent – first, closely work with them, then gradually release support to make them confident in a new skill or a new understanding.
National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage-2022