Just a THOUGHT! Student Engagement is not possible without Teacher Engagement

Student Engagement is not possible without Teacher Engagement
ie Students are as interested in their class and learning as the teacher is excited and interested about the content being taught.

 

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Although using the word engagement with the noun -‘student’ conjures up images of a joke being narrated,I am not about to share a joke!

 

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My brush with Student Engagement started when during teacher training we were required to make our lessons interesting, only to realize later to my great disillusionment that the teaching world is split into two parts-one is, things meant for inspections, workshops and the other, the talk-chalk-talk world of the real classroom.

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However, when I look back on my experiences and satisfaction I have had from my teaching -learning experiences it is clear that the instances of student engagement which I have experienced were all such instances when I as a teacher was literally wonder stuck with the content I was to get my students to cope with perfectly and there was a large part of the learning outcome which each time was a surprise to me too.
I take as an example, my latest brush with the same when in fact I became the student and then the teacher. It was just a few days back , when I came formally in contact with Augmented -Reality learning apps . The newness and the sheer extent of unexplored possibilities by me, its usage for teaching had me engaged for hours.This minuscule instance has reiterated my belief. Definitely, student engagement is a critical part of the teaching-learning process.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.