Have a Successful ‘School Parent Teacher Meet’ – Smart ways for smart Parents

Parents whatever you are  by  Profession , YOU  are also  Smart Parents of today. Today’s smart Parents are tech-savvy and very conscientious about handling each aspect of their lives and are goal oriented. So Parents, why should a meet which is about the most important part of your life –your children, be taken casually. It sure has to be handled the smart way. Prepare for it, as you must for any other meet which is expected to yield results.

An open day or a parent teacher meet (we concentrate here on only one to one meets) should actually carry a big ‘Handle with Care’ slip tagged to it. An unprepared attendance or a few unsolicited casual words by you at the PTM can result in wasted time, both- yours and the teacher’s.  It would also not yield the desired outcome-the best possible for your child!

On being asked what a PTM is, the most common answer received is: We ask the teachers how our child is performing in class and school or the teachers tell us if our child is under performing/ misbehaving. Well, it entails much more!

What is a PTM?

It is a meeting between the parents and teachers of students to discuss a child’s (student’s) learning and progress and find solutions to academic or behavioural problems.

 The highlighted words in the above sentence are the crux. They form the core of a successful parent teacher meet.

 Remember-a PTM entails:

  • A two way exchange of meaningful information between the parents and the teachers to find child friendly solutions for your child’s apparent/non apparent difficulties.
  • Realizing that Teachers and Parents have a common goal- that of working towards the betterment of your child.
  • Remembering that: Performance, learning and progress are all different words with specific meanings attached to them .Performance will automatically be good if the learning and progress are taking place as they should. So a Focus shift from performance or result is required.

Having been on both sides of the fence for many long years ( been a teacher and a mother) has made me approach PTMs very carefully and believe me, it is no bed of roses for either-the teachers or the parents! Here below, I have some of my ideas put into words for you all – Parents of course, teachers can wait to read them in another forum.

Before the PTM

Talk to your child :

  • Ask what are the child’s weakest (even though you already know) and strongest subjects.
  • Also inquire if the child wants you to talk about something to his teacher(s).
  • Make sure that your child understands the purpose of your going to the PTM-that is to help the child and not to make or listen to complaints about him.

Prepare a list of NOTES :

Teachers have a whole list of tasks to be accomplished too, and in most schools have to meet a certain number of parents(which is altogether quite a lot) as per allotted time schedule. So keeping in mind the following, strikes just the right note and helps in the interaction progressing smoothly and meaningfully.

  • Make a list of things to be inquired and discussed. It will help you be specific during the meet.
  • Ask other care takers of the child for things to be discussed
  • Prepare a prioritized list of queries/questions .For example :

What is my child expected to learn this year/this quarter etc?

Does my child submit home assignments on time?

How are my child’s test taking skills?

Does my child participate in the goings on in the classroom?

How are his social skills?

Does he seem happy in school?

Have you noticed any unusual behavior?

Has my child missed any classes other than the excused ones?

Is my child reaching his potential?

What can we parents do at home to contribute to his success story? (Remember, any  positive improvement is a success. Success has to have a different meaning for each                child as per the child’s potential.)

Does my child require any special educator services-maybe a programme for the gifted / a programme for learning disabilities/ extra remedial coaching?

During the PTM

  • Be on time.
  • Dress up formally but, be yourself. It surely is neither a casual gathering nor a party, so over dressing is totally out.
  • Wait for your turn. Don’t hover impatiently.
  • Stay calm and well mannered .Communicate positively and respectfully without anger.
  • Listen carefully and ask for clarification if not clear.
  • Ask the most important questions early on, else time might not permit. If necessary request for another appointment.
  • Discuss differences of opinion firmly but respectfully with an open mind.

After the PTM

  •  Talk to your child about the PTM. Emphasize the positives and be direct about problems if any discussed. If an action plan has been formed or discussed, explain the part which the child should know. Let him understand it is for his betterment.
  • Start working on the action plan.
  • Keep in touch with the teacher. This way child also realizes his education is a priority, at school and at home.

The Don’ts

  • Never use the threat ‘We will tell your teacher/principal’ to check indiscipline or insufficient study time. It undermines your authority and makes your child see teachers and school as unpleasant symbols of authority with just the role of policemen!
  • Don’t let the meeting become ‘About the Teacher’. Many a time a teacher will want to make sure you understand the dynamics of the classroom from a teacher’s point of view. For example you can only know how your child describes an out of control classroom to you. Actually it might not be the case at all. The classroom might be witnessing some highly interactive activities. So listen to the teacher before reacting.

 The Dos

  • Go with an open mind. Neither pick up negative thoughts about a particular teacher from your child’s mind nor come back and fill similar negative thoughts in your child’s mind. Children might not lie but they see things from their limited, gainful to them perspectives, so your honest knowledge about your child and direct talk in school might present a different picture altogether.

Also, your negative talk about a teacher even if sometimes justified will make your child to never respect the teacher, leave alone learn from him.

View PTMs as added and very important opportunities to contribute to your child’s success. This combination of you who knows your child inside out and the teacher who is trained and has experience in addition to being your child’s observer at school, can work wonders if the partnership is of mutual trust.

So work on it and give your child the successful PTM advantage.

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The important dozen- Why routines are important for children

18th June 2017

Whether you are a parent to a baby /a toddler or a kid any other age,the most generously given advise to you has to be – “You know ,you must get the kids on to a routine if you don’t want trouble later on ”

Setting children into routines? Easier said than done! The daily rigmarole, your work pressure, health issues, family ideas, beliefs and pressures are all as if conniving together to give you excuses to give up. They all seem to be bent upon making you loosen up your disciplined ,schooled self.While I completely empathise and sympathise with you -having gone through the entire  work vs house duties vs child duties and affection vs tiredness vs relaxed discipline cycle myself- fact remains – ROUTINES are very important for children for their balanced growth into healthy, sound teenagers and later on adults.

The entire process of growing up right from the baby’s birth is marked with CHANGE in every aspect of his life.Physical, mental, social and emotional growth all have CHANGE associated with them on almost daily basis. From giving up bottles to their standing as babies of the house to new skills learnt to accepting new people in their lives -read friends, teachers – to coming to terms with their wide range of emotions,childhood is not easy for children.

Routines, while setting children onto the path of RIGHT growth also provide just the right amount of prompting to catch the RIGHT path to growth.

Why are Routines important for Children

  1. Children are scared of change. Routines make them aware of what to expect, thus making themcomfortable and secure in their worlds.
  2. When children know what is expected of them, they are able to live up to those expectations. So Routines work towards makingchildren self confident and foster independence.
  3. Routines help kids totake charge of their own activities, thus helping them develop self discipline. If followed regularly, kids learn to brush teeth, wash, get ready for bed, pack bags in whatever order you prefer without constant reminders. Kids love to be in-charge!

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4. Thus, Routines eliminate unnecessary nagging.You are not Ms No all the time. Activities like napping, TV watching, doing homework, playing go on as casually as possible. Parents stop being the BAD guys.

5.  Routines reduce stress and anxiety for everyone. Kids cooperate and all know what comes next. So no one feels pushed.

6.   Routines help Parents maintain consistency in their expectations.

7.  Success in performing small tasks in Routines strengthen children and lay the foundation for rising to bigger challenges when required .Tasks  like going to school alone etc  come in gradual progression.

8. Routines also help parents incorporate in them special connecting moments like-a hug on meeting for the first time in the morning or/and touching feet of elders or a naming body parts ritual as you dry them after bath(let’s dry your toes…) …

9.   Routines make kids learn the concept of looking forward to things they enjoy.

10.  Routines help your children and their body clocks settle. Ability to nap, eat healthy etc are all linked to routines.

11. Routines help children get onto a schedule – Note : schedules and routines are two different entities.

12.  Last but not the least Routines bond families together – Children build life long associations to routines like entire family having dinner together.
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Having listed and maybe imbibed the above,  it is also a must to realize that too much structure dulls our and children’s sense of spontaneity .So set in routines but with sensitivity, don’t be oppressive be flexible too. Enjoy the bumps and mishaps. Setting routines takes time, effort and consistency .Start now, even babies and toddlers can be set to routines.  Be patient, praise effort not result, focus on what is going well and thus see your children thrive on routines.

 

 

Cooking with your child-Word your way to cook

5 family activities/games to celebrate the festive season and improve your child’s vocabulary and communication skills! – The second chapter

Word your way to cook

The festivities have begun and festivals, anywhere in the world are incomplete without food -festive or other- and children (even toddlers!) are generally super excited about it. I am back with the next family activity which not only encourages creativity in all family members but also improves body parts coordination especially among toddlers and primary level children. Benefits of adding new vocabulary to your child’s word bank and of course super family time with a sense of achievement are a bonus.

I present here a super simple recipe which does not require cooking with fire at all ( Can be used for kids aged 5or 6years too! Although, not using fire is not to be taken as the rule when cooking with kids as shared cooking and lots of communication is the aim ) .

So having with us our Chefs of the day ready for their cooking adventure, let us begin with the fun!

Chocolate Peanut Butter balls

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The recipe notes and the picture above are self explanatory as to what is to be done. However I do have here, some pointers towards creating a great learning and fun experience for your kids:

  • To give them a free hand and wide surface to work on, I covered the entire work table with butter paper. Thus, was able to give them free reign with the dough, without bothering about spills.
  • All children love it when they are made to feel important and act all grown up. You can begin by making them some simple chef caps either temporary ones with chart paper and a stapler or readymade ones which are easily available too these days. Simple kiddy aprons to accompany are an appropriate touch .

          Pretending to be chefs has all the advantages of pretend play added as a bonus too!

  • Avoid almost all DON’TS and concentrate on the DOs .
  • Do be very expressive –talk, talk and talk-deliberately use words which you want your child to pick up. Don’t translate words like stir, drip, rather use your actions along with the words. They are more effective and fun as learning tools.
  • You can go a step ahead by engaging the kids in a recipe recall game with the family joining in. This takes care of practicing logical thinking skills too!
  • For younger kids you can even use the ingredients or their pictures for recalling the steps of a recipe.

Some fun and learning moments I had with my Co–Chefs

Mrinal, Mihika and Myra

  • “What is this? Peanut Butter. What is Peanut? Pat jumped in Mihika with- Peanut is a nut. Never wanting to remain behind Mrinal jumped in, I know vegetable names Onion…” This Provided me the opportunity to talk about so many vegetable names and point out interesting facts about them.
  •  The problem of measuring out exactly 1 cup of milk powder brought in the use of Measuring Cups. While problem solving skills came into use when they could not fit the cup measure directly into the Milk Powder Jar. Mrinal had the quick solution of using a smaller spoon to fill the cup. What a fine start to lessons in measurement! Endless scope: How many spoons can fill one cup? Many and Much concepts too!
  •  Taking half a cup of peanut butter brought in the concept of half, the word divide and other fractions. Gradually I had them asking for half a glass of water and half a chocolate!
  • Kneading in the milk powder along with peanut butter first and later with condensed milk had them super excited! All kids sure love to knead when they see their mother do it for chapattis or other bakery products.
  • While rolling the balls their ideas took wings and we had some bricks and spoon shapes made too along with the balls!
  • Dunking the balls into the chocolate sauce one by one; letting them swim in it and then catching them with a pair of tongs involved much shared laughter and became a game .The entire process is a wonderful hand eye coordination exercise.
  • The word drip was loved, as they all wanted the chocolate sauce to drip from the tongs directly into their hands  so that they could lick it!

The biggest problem I encountered –Had to send the kids again and again for washing their hands as they could not resist licking their fingers while preparing the dish!

Well there’s lot more to come in the third chapter of –5 family activities/games to celebrate the festive season and improve your child’s vocabulary and communication skills!  So have fingerliscious da#teachersys till then with your kids!

5 family activities/games to celebrate the festive season and improve your child’s vocabulary and communication skills!

The rains have set in the fun mood and the ensuing festive season has ushered in a lot of cheer. Just the time for some great family fun.

Well, rains and the accompanying uplift in spirit brought back my playful spirit too and one fine day I posted the following picture (a casual early morning click when on my morning walk) with an accompanying note on my social media account.

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Camouflage at its best .Seems as if the lovely parrots are teasing us. Spot us if you can! Find at least three parrots in the picture.

I was astonished to see the number of people who joined in the spirit and set to work finding the parrots and exclaiming to my delight Yay found em!’, ‘found!’ …the list keeps on growing longer.

This set me thinking, ‘when people, right from those in their thirties to near sixties and maybe more can’t resist a challenge, how much more fun it must be for children!’

What better way would there be for children to add on new vocabulary and enhance their communication skills than fun family activities and games. So here we are with some of my prefferred ideas and games for the on-going monsoon and the ensuing festive seasons. My list of 5 such ideas includes:

  1. The Great Monsoon Trail
  2. Cook your words or Word your way to cook!
  3. The hunt for treasure –Treasure hunt while playing with language!
  4. The big shopping expedition!
  5.  Party Fun

In today’s blog I would like to talk about the first one :

The Great Monsoon Trail

The monsoon ushers in lot of greenery in some form or the other and there is a lot of colour to look at around you .So walks and following trails when the time and wheather permits is the thing to do. These days most parents are health conscious and regular walkers /gymers. .The problem is that, while doing so  we take our surroundings for granted and don’t involve children  in the activities or don’t think it is important to keep up the chatter. So talk away, keep introducing words/names for things on the go without stressing on the learning -so that you don’t lose the fun quotient!

Go out to your garden/balcony/parks as a family at least once a week (maybe mornings or whenever you have time). Have a blast clicking away with your kids. You will be surprised, how different some scenarios can look and how many more things you are able to observe when seen minutely in focus!

Some activities /games which can be carried out /played while on the  monsoon walk:

  • Fun picture puzzle: The picture shown above and the words used as a caption are example enough for the kind of talk and vocabulary you have to use while talking to children and the scope of things which can be taught while having fun  .The vocabulary to be used can be toned down or up according to your child’s age –ex words like camouflage, adaptation(Also words like camouflage can be used to play lots of interesting family games. Tell children to camouflage themselves from fictional enemies and play the game .Camouflage can also be definitely used to talk about things like why Indian army has the uniform it has ).
  • Here are a few more of my favourite pics :

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Other than the obvious ones like roots, short, tall,colours …words like  a natural arch can be deliberately introduced in your conversation.

You can also ask -to find particular shaped/coloured leaves, look for chameleons /birds/flowers/other.

  • Tell children to take pictures too and make scrap books where each picture can have a question or a puzzle to unravel as shown in the pic above. Then all can sit together at a family sit together and have fun playing the game.
  • Collect unusual objects when following your trail (by the way trail is another word to be taught!) and design some artifact as a family .
  • Activities which involve lots of physical movement can also be an attraction and give a sense of achievement. Example-Following a pattern in a park, running around trees (not the bollywood kind!),trying to hang a bit from strong branches of a tree, trying to climb a tree if it is safe.

 

Will be back to share some great cooking fun with children in my next post .Till then, don’t wait for games like Pokemon Go in augmented reality to drag you and your child out of your home or be more active! The monsoon has brought precious natural treasures! So, move out have fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festivals- an excellent opportunity of developing social attitudes and open mindedness in children

 

Wishing all parents  a very happy Janamashtami and ensuing festive season!!!

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Amongst all the festivity, good cheer and all round gaiety brought about by the celebrations,what struck my mind and gripped my heart were some of the answers I have received  from children over the years when asked the simple questions:

What are you celebrating today?
Which festival is it today?

The answer is of course  always correct! It is Gudi Padwa or diwali. or …

No problems there. Problem lies after that .The next few answers are :

  • It is our festival.
  • We wear new clothes.
  • We have fun.
  • We eat …

Seemingly all is fine .We have aware NORMAL children enjoying festivals.

Causes for worry:

  1. Many children don’t know WHY a certain festival is being celebrated.
  2. Most do not have any idea that there are similar festivals being celebrated by people from other parts of their country at the same time and for similar reasons but in diverse ways.
  3. This causes much more than a healthy importance being associated with only the fun ,eating and merrymaking part of a festival.This, in later life, many a time manifests in developing of selfish attitudes and closed minds (OUR FESTIVAL/WE EAT…) in children.

The first place a child learns and forms social ideas and attitudes affecting his open mindedness or lack of it, is – home. Definitely, what we as parents do or even how we phrase our sentences is very important.

What every SMART parent CAN do to help, without worrying about time constraints ?

  • Days before the actual date of a festival make the bed time story ritual, one, which is full of diverse stories/myths/tales associated with the festival. Be involved in the .process as a family.
  • Provide children with animated/other videos narrating festival stories.(Available across the net too!)
  • While going about your work at home, give age appropriate activities related to the festival-colouring/mask making/making greetings for people in the neighbourhood specially the old ones.

For once do tolerate the mess or better you can use the opportunity to have a joint clean up session with the children thus  giving you the opportunity to spend healthy conversation family time at the same time teaching children to be humane!

  • Brush up your knowledge of the festival .Surf the net whenever you get a spare time slot even if 10 minutes, for diverse info on the festival-The HOWs and WHYs associated with it.This will keep you well armed with the info for transferring it to the child and of course build up your enthusiasm for the festival too!
  • Go in for festival family cooking sessions on weekends before the festival .Cook festive food not only from your part of the world but try festive recipes  from other places too.

All parents have to choose their battles, so put up with messiness if you must, but teach your child consideration for others and to have an open attitude. Model it for her early on, praise it.

Having interacted with children in diverse geographical places I have found that those children who have grown up in an environment adept at  universal acceptance in all aspects and one that has a healthy respect for people and their social associations are more likely to :

  • Lead happy creative lives
  • Make informed out of the box choices
  • Exhibit an open attitude- that of  tolerance.

So do teach your child that people ARE important and knowing them IS important.

Remember what Robert Fulghum -author (All I Really Needed to Learn in Kindergarten) said :

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

So here’s wishing more aware ,informed festivities to all you  SMART parents a very happy New Year and Navratri and….Happy celebrating!

Technology in the classroom

images4The story so far…There was a time (and in some places it still is)  when technology in the classroom of a school meant either having a room equipped with audio visual devices, usually a tape recorder and a VCR or advertising your school as a smart class equipped school with some classrooms fitted with projectors connected to a new generation writing board called the smart board. It all started with using these facilities in regular periodic classes  showing children educational content.

Those  were the days when teachers were to be coaxed and sometimes forced to make use of the topic wise available electronic academic content at least for a fixed mandatory  number of hours .The content sometimes not up to mark but not easily recognizably so, did serve the purpose of a break from monotonous class schedules for both students and teachers. Teachers mostly stuck with the idea of anything to do with the computers being an automatic referral to the computer teacher! Real beneficiaries of the set up being the top level students with the gap between there content clarity and mastery of a topic being bridged.

A good start no doubt ! What now ?screen_shot_2015-09-29_at_11.00.04_am_137250

Today  the ability  to use technology is not under a scanner at all!  Use of smart phones, social media and fondness for making home videos and picture collages  have very easily taken care of that hurdle! Most good schools today are in a position to use technology as an instructional tool rather than just a subject of instruction. However, complete seamless integration is still a far cry generally.

Need of the hour therefore, is to introduce technology seamlessly into our school lessons and  school work by teachers for both themselves and students. Teachers must comfortably shift from digital to traditional and vice versa as and when required .Students must employ technology daily in the classroom using a variety of tools to complete assignments and create projects that show a deep understanding of content.

Some of the ways of Technology Integration in a School Classroom

  • Teacher specific tools
  • Online learning and blended classrooms
  • Project-based activities
  • Game-based learning
  • Learning with mobile devices
  • Instructional tools like interactive whiteboards and student response systems
  • Web-based projects, explorations, and research
  • Student-created media
  • Collaborative online tools like wikis or google docs
  • Using social media to engage students
  • Flipped classrooms

Some reasons for teacher resistance to the usage:

  • It is hard to affect change in the way one teaches, especially given that many educators work confidently with familiar and proven methods.
  • Already working hard, teachers may understandably be wary of anything with the potential of making  their job more complicated .
  • Using technology or to be more specific  even only electronic academic content  requires meticulous planning and time even if it is for lower classes. The added time might prove to be a deterrent for some.

What might help:

  • Including teachers in the decision making processes to evaluate the extent of use and what to use helps to a certain extent .
  • Though the planning and execution of how new technology will be integrated are important, at the end of the day, what matters most when selecting technology is its ease of use.
  • There can be no substitute for the time spent on planning .Planning HAS to be done with proper time spent on it. This, is where a Head who is himself /herself well planned can help. Regular integration of  time slots for academic content planning right down to the micro level within  the school time schedule itself  is a big help.

Technology, is here to stay  and students today  are coming to class with more and more technical know-how whether a teacher likes it or not. There are still many educators, less familiar and less comfortable with technology than their students, struggling  to seamlessly integrate a growing list of technology tools into their regular curriculum.

So it’s high time we educators came out of our comfortable stupor, stemming out of a superiority claimed due to experience .Let’s decide, we want to reach the top of the pyramid of technology integration or no!

 

 

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Levels of technology integration

The building language series:Language Development In The Kitchen

Involving your children in the kitchen is a great way to consciously work on their language development in a fun way .The idea works simply because by nature, great cooking happens only when a  lot of creativity is used and experimentation  done. Creativity, is what all children possess innately  and experimentation is a process which flourishes if carried out creatively. The idea can be used both by parents at home and teachers at school too.

Cooking together with kids gives us lots of teaching – learning opportunities without compromising on their creative nature. The following lists some of the teaching -learning opportunities I came across and used to great success while working with the kids(ranging from the very young to primary grade kids) in the kitchen:

  • Use of action words such as stir, cut, mix ,roll and spread while practicing the same skills.
  • Could introduce lots of descriptive vocabulary as I  talked about all the ingredients used as we together worked on our creation.
  • A very good way to work on sequencing and story telling skills as you discuss and recall the steps in a recipe.

I  have also tried using the pictures of various ingredients as name recall cards and  various cooking steps as sequencing cards  to great success .

  • A great social skill builder too if more than one child is involved-encourage talk like- Please pass the knife, May I have a turn?
  • Depending on the age group, gradually progressive tasks like gathering ingredients for a particular recipe ,reading and comprehending recipes and even writing own recipes for higher level reading and writing skills can be included.

Language development requires stimulation  by modeling it in front of the learner. That, is where the role of the educator -be it parent or teacher becomes crucial. You need to narrate what you are doing with simple phrases and sentences, emphasize key words and keep on repeating what your child says using extensions and expansions thus giving him exposure to new vocabulary and concepts.

There is a lot more to talk about on the topic-things like what recipes to choose, care to be taken while doing so and so on .Be back with more on the same topic in my next post.

Image credits -Thanks to all my students and faculty who helped me implement  such projects at Udaipur , India.

 

The ‘Building Language’ Blues :A hunt for the treasure, that is- language

Using the games Treasure Hunt and Scavenger Hunt for language development and for enhancing communication skills  

At the forerunner of my quest for ways of developing language skills in children is the use of the two games Treasure Hunt and Scavenger Hunt .The idea stemmed out of a personal need for making my children’s birthdays and gifts received- special and at the same time educative.

At this juncture I would like to re-produce here an extract of an article I wrote last year on the same issue(www.tutelageviewpoint.blogspot.com) for parents:

Ever since my children became aware of the world around them I wanted them to have birthdays which they would not ever forget ( I think all mothers secretly wish for their children to associate them with at least one particular cherished memory) .Well my wish kept on troubling me and the D-Day -the Birthday of my first born was fast approaching. I knew, rather than buying a single expensive gift I wanted to give him (my son) several small things of his liking .So here I was with my treasure of gifts ( a pom-pom, a funny faced teddy and so on) standing ,still wondering what to do ?…

Here is what I did.I made a treasure hunt of all the gifts I had(nine or ten) for my son .The questions in the treasure hunt served as brain teasers for him.They tested his previous knowledge and  linked it with things new, thus helping him augment  his rapidly growing knowledge bank .The joy of finding each treasure after a struggle added a new dimension to the learning process.The added advantages of the whole family being involved in a fun activity created unforgettable memories. The fun starts with the Birthday boy’s eyes being closed and his being taken to the first clue ,which of course is the easiest one and the first treasure almost always being a coveted eatable.

As I experimented with it year after year I found the list of things that could be taught to be endless. Be it vocabulary, language, comprehension and listening skills, critical and sequential thinking……the sky was and is the limit.

Gradually I have successfully included it in formal classroom settings as well as garden and home settings.A extract of the  games in progress can be viewed as the video Creating an effective learning environment -A milestone in an ongoing quest   at:

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The beauty of the games adapted (in this case) with an aim to familiarise children with idioms and making them adept with the usage of some known and some new vocabulary, lies in the fact, that although the teacher/parent is loosely able to channelise the flow of thoughts and the path taken, children’s unschooled responses and reactions can lead to entirely unplanned but wonderful learning outcomes too.

The examples shown, showcase how the games give ample opportunity to :

the teacher/parent  to –

  •  evaluate a child on a number of counts and re-think her/his teaching strategies.
  • have the immediate flexibility of molding her words according to learner responses.

the children to-

  • get an opportunity to communicate, think as a team and learn how to sequence their thoughts, think logically and critically .The kinesthetic and visual learners along with the musical ones have there share of learning too.

Thinking beyond the barriers and boundaries of subjects along-with the excitement of overcoming the challenge of solving a puzzle(s) is an added advantage and  motivates even the under achievers of the formal academic settings.

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Note : The same strategy can be used for any language.

The ‘Building Language’ Blues

I have come across many a parent worried about the development of  language and communication skills in their kids.To my distress, kids and even toddlers in some cases can be seen rushing to language tuition classes -this, despite parents being able to  perfectly comprehend and speak the language (here basically I refer to English). Target being, scoring highest possible marks in the school language tests first and second, to begin  communicating in the language.

Is the goal achieved? -the first one, yes maybe to some extent, however, the second one rarely. Sadly even top scorers generally exhibit only limited text driven memorised vocabulary and expression.

Teaching any language at pre- primary and primary levels has one specific goal that of developing effective communication skills in that language-verbal  and written.If language teaching is seen like the teaching of any other subject limiting the child’s exposure to it , to bound texts or teacher dictated answers and learning the rules of its grammar we are depriving them of the power their own expression  can give them and making them dependent forever.

My experience of working on the mentioned issue says, lots of exposure to new reading content and opportunities of verbal and listening opportunities are a must. A  hundred percent effort  of both parents and teachers to not only provide the same but also carefully created seemingly unplanned conversation opportunities work miracles.

Conscious involvement of children in family talk and household chores by both parents while conversing in the language targeted is a must.You get quality family time  as a bonus!

I bring you some of my adventures on the language development route in a series which I will be covering gradually.In this series I would like to discuss some non conventional methods which can be used to great success by teachers in class room & school situations and  by parents with equal or even more success  at home to develop any language.My articles right now,deal specifically with English , although the same methods8999071_orig have successfully been used by me as multilingual or  specific language enhancers.

The great RUSH story !

This is a blog post I wrote last year .However I feel it is relevant today as well , be it for parents whose children are about to start a new session or for those whose children are writing their exams!

merikaksha

13th February,2014

1.30 P.MSince my previous post on Vasant Panchami day, the spring season has ushered in not only beautiful flowers and a spring in our steps because of the wonderful weather, but also a new season-The  ‘RUSH’ season (which is only present in the lives of us parents) – A rush for admission, A rush to coaching classes, A rush to revise for exams and A rush to…- a keen observer and a participant of the whole scenario myself, I feel like saying hold on, take a breath (not to say that I am not guilty of exactly the same), give yourself and your children a break.

Among all these rushes let me concentrate on only two right now.So let’s rush to the first rush i.e Admission.Regarding admission to schools(since we are talking about kids, so I will restrict myself to school education only) I will only say that ultimately a child’s profile is built by many stakeholders.The major ones being-…

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