Imagine this. The place of learning is open. The day is planned, activities are decided, resources are ready. Time is set. And as the clock-hands position themselves into that exact angle, children pour in with smiles on their faces, a twinkle in their eyes and so much love in their heart. They are curious and already excited to learn, explore and discover something new. The purpose of a teacher is then, to satiate their hunger for learning, and further ignite their curiosity instead of burning it down. Learning becomes a two-way process for the children and the teachers, with the place of learning becoming a channel of learning in the togetherness of the space. The child and the mentor learn to grow and to connect with each other.
Is it possible to create and recreate this joy and passion for learning, each day in our classrooms? Tanvi Shah, mentor of the Transit class of Touching Lives, shares her wisdom of experience and experiments in making learning a joyful journey for herself and her students.
Innovate your Teaching Approaches
Let go of the traditional approaches, where you speak more and children listen. That will exhaust the mentor and bore the children. Instead, bring joy. Let the children learn through laughter and play. Include lots of tasks, allowing children to collaborate, lead, and work in teams while learning from each other. Let them take charge. Involve them in tasks like cleaning the garden together, or conducting research in pairs, making a presentation together. The children will then learn and explore with ease.
Sports is all about dedication and sincerity. A team-game will teach children about acceptance, defeats, working in teams, more than any lecture/verbal inputs you might give them. A great movie will help children inculcate values. Any thing that can help a child to learn something new, should never be ignored; that is the golden rule. Take them sight-word hunting on your premises, hold an inter-grade sports event. After all they are children, and they are supposed to behave like it. Let discovery happen through doing.
Activity will keep stir the flow of energy, giving your class a fresh and lively feel.
Let There Be Music
Music heals and makes the atmosphere meditative. Include music in the form of songs, rhymes, jingles. Let your children make their own class songs. Talk about beats and rhythm. Give them the opportunity to experience great music. It will foster deeper connections among them and with their surroundings.
Reading and Stories
A great story will linger in the heart of a child forever. Time and again they will be able to draw inspiration from it. So, make sure to Include reading and stories in your curriculum, make it vital. You read to them, let them read to each other. Give them a chance to make their own stories, to create their own comic strips and allow them to indulge into story narrating. Let them get lost in the world of books and stories for once. By end of the year, you will be surprised by the depth and proficiency a child would have achieved, simply through exploring the world of stories and books.
Give Them a Taste of Nature
Nature is God’s signature. Let the children savor it. Let the greens out there reach their brain. Let them appreciate a bird song, a flower, a tree’s unique shape, the sound of a running stream. These will create space and silence within them. They will feel inspired and motivated by the miracle of Mother Nature. The works of the Universe will give them agile minds.
Keep it Light
Be easy on yourself and your children. More often than we realize, we design our entire lives around our role of being a teacher. At such times it helps to check on ourselves when we overdo it. It is not so much what we do in class, but who we are that makes the real difference. We can be a friend that a child can count on. Someone who will listen to their query, their worry. Laugh with them, play with them, be a child with them. Let them see that you can be vulnerable too. Share your feelings, failures, struggles, triumphs. This alone will give them a great sense of security. These will be the classroom-moments that will always be etched in their heart, and yours too.
Tanvi Shah is the mentor of Transit Class at Touching Lives. She is also a wonderful Kathak dancer and an art and culture enthusiast.