We all know that traditional ways of learning requires a teacher, a chalkboard, a desk, a ruler, a pencil, and a textbook. A teacher with a stern, professional posture stands before the room with barely a smile on her face as she goes through the lesson in front of her class.
This was the image seen in many movies and some adults actually had her in their classes for many, many years. She or he may have conducted a rather boring class, spending a lot of time talking over your head or talking to the chalkboard.
The teacher restricted the class to only textbook studies, plus quizzes and tests every week. Every now and then, it was a real “treat” for the students to watch a movie in her class, even if it was boring and the film jumped around on the screen. Any field trips? – Forget about it! Students were lucky if they got to have an additional recess from time to time.
Then, when test time came, the worksheets seemed to be as old as them. Often times a student, with a raised arm, would say, “I can’t read number 45”. Then other students would nod or murmur in agreement…It would be a long school year in Mr. or Ms. XYZ’s class.
When Internet did not exist, we were just excusing Ms./Mr. XYZ for not having readily accessible information that could give her/him the ideas to stimulate her/his students.
The reasons for this is the fact that she/he may have been too busy grading papers or tending to her/his own family. Whatever the excuse, she/he has none nowadays!
With the abundance of websites, articles, and other ways to make learning fun for children, there is no excuse to cope with such behavior.
The following suggestions may help you as a parent, if yo would like to assist your children or the teacher, stimulate her/his skills while making life more interesting for her/his class.
1. When beginning a new subject or topic to teach, decorate the class related to a theme. For example: if you will be teaching about wild animals, why not have posters hanging in your classroom about them?
2. Provide something fun related to your topic on that class, that children could take home to color, solve a puzzle or show off, such as stickers or a colorful book that they can keep.
3. Always have an interesting DVD, video clip ready to “kick off” a new subject.
4. Set a time during the day, where the students are required to work together, on a project related to the topic. Students could try to solve a puzzle, watch a video and write or draw what they really like from it, or play a game that will help them remember what you have taught them.
5. You may want to invite a speaker to come in and talk about the subject other than you. Find out from the parents if they know someone that would be willing to come to the classroom, to speak on the topic you are teaching. Have the speaker bring something with them, that will help the students remember his or her visit better.
6. Talk with other teachers in the school about what you are doing and maybe they would be willing to help you. They may be interested in getting their class to participate.
7. Research the local community on events that will aid you in your teaching. There may be a “free museum day” and you just happened to be teaching on types of art expressing.
8. Watch out for sales as sometimes products you may need to accompany your topic can be purchased at a really reasonable price.
9. Tell parents verbally and physically how you can use their input.
10. Visit online forums, blogs or just create your own social networking profile to connect with other teachers to exchange ideas, which will benefit all sides.