When I go into a classroom I enter a different world that of children’s. Each child is a work in progress and it is not the school subject that matters it is all about teaching the child. As a teacher, I pay attention to children’s reactions to cater for their needs later on. Most of the times, they need affection, motivation and encouragement not only at school but also at home. Some parents might fear that there is a gap, a huge difference between children’s behaviour when exposed to these two environments. In their quest to find the right answers they appeal to teachers and both parties set out on this beautiful journey whose ultimate goal is to understand the child and help him discover the joy that comes from learning.
Let us imagine a group of children of similar ages who are a little bit different in terms of social and cognitive development. Some of them had not benefited from a large social exposure therefore are shy some others are very energetic but struggle to retain information and absorb knowledge.
In the first category we deal with children/learners who prefer settling activities, have difficulties in interacting with others, speak in a low voice and have the tendency to stay away from any sort of activities. As a solution, both teachers and parents should encourage these children to get more involved and should praise them for every good deed or correct answer with the aim of motivating and raising children’s self-esteem.
On the other hand, we have very energetic children who can easily make new friends but have a short attention span and struggle to remain focused during settling activities. As a solution the teacher should have a well-balanced lesson plan that would include not only stirring activities but also various worksheets and concentration/memory games that would keep these students’ interest high. Extracurricular activities such as sports, dance, music, and painting clubs can be valuable experiences that parents should consider for their energetic, hyper active children. The aim of all these is to use the children’s energy in a constructive way. By channelling the child’s energy through various activities, one may prevent that it evolve into mischief.
For children who have difficulties in retaining information and absorbing knowledge, the teacher should create a special learning environment based on personalization and knowledge of children’s learning styles: visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. This time again, repetition is the mother of all skill. Therefore, every time the teacher introduces new vocabulary or any type of language he/she should prepare reinforcement activities so that, in the end, the learning objective is achieved and children produce the target language. At home, parents can continue and stimulate the child’s learning process by using the same means. The purpose is to motivate children to learn using their own qualities and preferences.
Let us now imagine the same group of mixed-ability children playing an educational game. This time things change because, by their nature, all children are motivated to play and get involved in this type of activity, no matter their learning preferences or distractions. The child learns through games and has more control over what happens. It is in playing that the individual child is able to be creative and to use the whole personality. Moreover, he is surrounded by other children, having the opportunity to socialize and make new friends he is happy and feels safe even if he is not at home where he receives parents’ attention. These two environments are quite different and for this reason there may appear differences in children’s behaviour when at school. All in all, it is obvious that these environments should have one thing in common: they should provide children the opportunity to play. Perhaps the secret lies in making both school and child’s home “ubiquitous playgrounds” where children feel safe, where both parents and educators guide them in the process of learning.