Understanding Teaching Pedagogy

Teacher Helping Students During Art Class In Chinese School Classroom

Teaching Pedagogy can be loosely defined as the method of teaching.

The world of education has come a long way since the days of rote learning. The world of education has also come a long way since the days of trying to identify a single “best” method of teaching.

Most educationalists will today agree that not all teaching methods work for all children all of the time. Unfortunately, schools have limited flexibility to custom design teaching methods for each individual child.

However, parents do.

Parents also have the added advantage of having an intimate understanding of how their children think. Parents also know exactly what activities or rewards can motivate their child.

Research into teaching approaches have shown that some children learn well in immersive environments, some children learn well by rote methods, some children learn well in group environments, some in classes of short duration and some children actually learn best when multi-tasking.

Hence, when a parent is trying to teach a child at home, it is imperative that the parent carefully observes how his or her child is responding to the lesson, and then modify the method appropriately. It is also very important for the parent to be open to the idea of trying new methods and environments, varying the educational material used and the time spent “teaching”.

Finding the optimal situation and environment for a child to learn, will reduce a lot of stress for both the child and the parent and also increase the effectiveness of the time spent trying to teach the child.

Some important concepts to keep in mind when teaching a child:

  1. Teaching a child is very different from teaching a teenager or an adult. A teenager or an adult will possess a greater sense of ownership or drive towards learning. A child however, will likely not understand that effort is required on his or her part, so the parent must be prepared to do most of the “heavy lifting” and must not perceive playful actions of the child to indicate disinterest or ungratefulness.
  2. A quiet place is usually ideal for conducting lessons at home. However, it need not be a formal classroom style environment. A quiet corner in the living room, or even in the bedroom, attic or porch can suffice. The idea is simply to keep noise and distractions to a minimum.
  3. Children learn by example. If parents sit at home and do office work, cook or have dinner while watching television, this kind of behaviour becomes the norm in the household.
  4. When teaching children at home, start with short lessons of about 10 to 15 minutes. Work your way up to longer lessons. Children will need time to adjust to the idea of sitting in one place. Young children rarely even sit in one place and play with a single toy for more than 5 minutes at a time.
  5. Do not heap praises upon your child simply for just “trying”. It is perfectly alright to tell a child that an attempt could be improved upon or to tell a child to try harder. Learning happens when a person is, to some extent forced to aspire to pick up a new skill or understand a new concept. In adult learners, it is possible for adults to force themselves to learn something new, but children will not have such self directed discipline and will need to feel uncomfortable to some degree, in order to push themselves to absorb information.
  6. Encourage questions. If questions are not forth coming, ask your own. Asking questions encourages a child to think.
  7. Learning happens when information is deconstructed then reconstructed with references to the learner’s experiences. So teachers need to constantly draw references within the child’s realm of understanding. When teaching the English language, teachers need to remind children of when certain words can be used in conversations or to describe things that they see on a day to day basis. For example when teaching a child new words, parents can say things like “do you remember that day when I used this word at the supermarket?”, in order for the child to create a memory associated to the word.

Lastly, it is important for parents to remember that every child develops and learns at a different pace. Some children will learn the alphabet at a young age but be unable to string a sentence together while everyone else is already talking in paragraphs. Differences in learning speed is a normal expectation among children and there is no value to be derived by comparing one child to another.

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