There is no doubt that the face of education has dramatically changed over the years. Teachers work harder to equip their students with the skills required to succeed in life and their careers as well. However, apart from instilling students with the flexibility to adapt to the changing technologies, educators should foster learning environments that support creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, social responsibility and global awareness. Here are six strategies that every early childhood education teacher should use to prepare their students for a wonderful future.
Kids today are born in the age of the Internet. Most of them are technologically savvy. Therefore, to be able to connect with these kids better, educators should not lag behind. They have to learn to speak their language by becoming more aware of the technologies. Integrating technology basically means exploiting the interests of the child and strengthening their technical skills. In addition, the connectivity that comes with the use of the Internet makes it imperative for teachers to stress on the significance of Internet safety.
Cooperative learning structures
Instructions that are teacher-centered are no longer successful. Educators today use a more learner-centered approach. Cooperative learning helps in sparking engagement in classrooms by promoting interaction among fellow students. The educator, rather than calling on one child at a time to respond, facilitates involvement of all the students in peer discussion of the materials and lessons in small groups, ensuring thus their active participation.
Educators can customize learning to cater to different students with different needs. Basically, there are three major learning styles: kinesthetic, visual, and auditory. Teachers can differentiate by creating assignments that match the readiness levels of students, offering the right extension or intervention activities as needed. Letting kids choose activities as per their areas of interest and giving choices to kids would be a great way to keep them motivated.
Involving students in the process of goal setting is another rewarding strategy to motivate them to take responsibility of their own learning. During the early stages, goal setting has to be performed in a clear and simple way – for instance, an open conversation with the students about their interests and progress in particular areas. Teachers can facilitate goal setting as well with the help of anchor charts, organizers and the like. Basically, helping kids reach their goals requires teachers to offer frequent feedback and provide enough time for self-reflection.
In the past, traditional methodology taught subjects in isolation. Today the methodology of cross-curricular teaching of several subjects simultaneously is found to be a more effective. It helps students acquire learning skills and understand concepts much more efficiently.
Of course this approach does demand a lot from the teacher. It is easy to blend subjects like science, math and social studies with writing and reading. But it is indeed challenging to blend all the subjects at once. However, the method really works: not only does it tell the students what they must learn, but also engages them in uncovering and exploring the information in a meaningful and logical way.
Assessment of learning is a process of data-gathering that is used by educators to help personalize instruction to match the needs of the student. Summative assessment does not always offer a clear picture. Also, it will be too late to use the data gathered thus for constructive remedial measures. The educator is under compulsion to move on to the next goal, leaving several students behind who have not completely grasped the previous material yet.
To prevent this from happening, educators can evaluate how the students learn while they teach, using questioning strategies, observations, classroom discussions, learning logs, exit tickets, peer assessments, slate work, self-assessment and the like.
Following these strategies will ensure the overall development of the children, helping them reach their optimal levels of performance and intelligence.