Sunday, 4 May 2014

9 Great Teaching Tips- From the Classroom into your Home

Those of us who have taught in schools, especially to young children who are in their formative and curious years, will probably have picked up little nifty tricks of the trade that no doubt help out when it comes to teaching their own. In this post, I will outline nine tips that I have picked up and that can easily be incorporated into your study time routine with your kids. These can be molded into your own personal styles.

These will be particularly handy when you have new concepts to teach your child, granted they are taught at school, but in my experience, parents still play an important role in reinforcing or further clearing up concepts taught at school.

1. Don't Over Expect: You know the term 'expect nothing, hope for everything', those are words to live by when teaching. You should start with the thought in mind that you may not be successful. That said, it is still imperative to keep your cool and not show resentment when things are not progressing. Try a different approach or leave the task at hand for some time. Be respectful of your child's feelings and yes I know I say it lightly while in reality, it's one of the most difficult things to do.

2. Be Prepared: Believe it or not, sometimes your child's assignment or homework may include aspects you are not aware of, if you are unsure about anything like the method of a math sum, it's always best to consult the teacher, or go through the text book to make sure. Get your facts straight before embedding concepts in your child's brain which he may never unlearn.

3. Be Passionate: Being invigorated and excited will transfer to even the most reluctant of children. Make it light, make it about spending quality time with your child, two targets with one stone, so to speak. Awaken the curiosity inside them by showing them how much you are interested as well.

4. Revise Basics: Depending on the topic, I find it best to go over the basic stuff, things already previously learned revolving around the current topic that your child has already covered in the past. For instance before attempting fractions, go over simple division making sure your child still remembers his tables.

5. Engage The Child: One of the best ways to do this is to ask your child to have her/him explain it to you, or at the very least have him/her tell you what he/she knows already. Rewarding the child with a simple high five or a hearty 'way to go' motivates your child to keep at it. Asking children to rephrase the concepts in their own words also helps. More over, never interrupt when the child is speaking and provide full undivided attention. Stay at pace with your child.

6. Stray Outside The Box: Demonstrating real life applications of certain topics reinforces concepts like no other. Further, you could expand on the topic by going over more in depth subject matter than the school books. Children are very receptive to information that appeals to their curiosity. For instance, when studying the basic human skeleton, in addition to the facts you can show the child reflexes by the jerking knee, point out the funny bone in the elbow. Or ask them to make you a drawing or write out all the difficult words on a small chalk or white board. You get the picture.

7.Avoid Distractions: Nothing will deter a child from paying you undivided attention by having something around that will divert that attention elsewhere. Switch of the television, send the other kids on some errands, put your phone on silent. It's such a shame when the momentum is built up, only to receive a call and break it. You may not be able to engage like that again in that time frame.

8. Use Of Aides: You can always keep a resource book at hand to read through more material, or have an app that gives more practice or even ask the child to gather some facts that you had not covered in your session, from the internet. Show your enthusiasm at every positive response.

9. Recap: Before winding it up, go through the main points. Revision is the key to good learning. Taking a little written test at the end of the session is a good idea, especially where specific memory related questions like definitions and formulas are concerned. Have the kids check their own revision with a red pen and give themselves grades. My kids love doing this.

Since all the above are just generalized tips, it goes without saying that you can use these according to the age and level your child is at.

I'd love to hear how many more ingenious ways you all have come up with to teach your children.