How Children Learn
“Knowledge can only be got in one way, the way of experience; there is no other way to know.” – Swami Vivekananda
The best educationists around the world believe that learning is more meaningful when the focus is on the underlying processes of learning and not on the content alone. If the ultimate objective of education is to synthesize our understanding for ourselves, then the teaching-learning processes have to be designed keeping in mind the diversity that exists among children. To live out these guiding principles we have put the following into practice…
Active Learning Methodology (ALM)
Active Learning Programme at Prakriya aims to get the children actively involve themselves in their learning process. It prompts the teachers to question the following basic premises –
- Who is the learner?
- Whose responsibility is it to learn?
- Does learning involve just listening, doing some activity and asking questions? Or
- Does it involve higher order thinking such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation?
- Does it involve critical thinking i.e. using logical evaluation against the backdrop of historical data and reality check?
In an ALM setting, instead of being the passive receivers of knowledge, children are given opportunities to question, discuss, reflect and figure things out on their own. The teachers’ role is to facilitate rather than direct and control what and how a child learns.
Individuals learn and process information in different ways. Everybody has a preferred learning style. Knowing and understanding our learning style helps us to learn more effectively. Through identifying the learning style, one is able to capitalize on the strengths and improve concept understanding. Awareness of different learning styles enables teachers to plan lessons keeping in mind different ways in which children learn.
Mind Map Tool
The mind map is a powerful technique which provides a universal key to unlocking the potential of the brain. This is an ideal tool for effectively accessing natural creativity and harnessing that creativity for effective problem solving. Mind maps can help bring focus if the right and the left brain is kept in balance. The colours and images incorporated into logic and lines focuses thought in a relaxed, concentrated manner.
Mind mapping can be used when you need to clarify your thoughts, organize information, communicate clearly or take in information.
Thematic Learning Classes
TLC is an integrated theme based learning programme which fosters associative thinking and wholistic learning. The themes are the five elements – Aakash, Vayu, Agni, Jal and Prithvi. Through these themes the concepts of science, social & environmental studies are interlinked and woven in, in an integrated manner rather than learning in a compartmentalized way. There are opportunities for children and teachers to go beyond text books and experience, explore and experiment with concepts. It fosters creativity and critical thinking and allows children to move from known to unknown with ease.
Circle time is a group activity in which people sit down together with the purpose of understanding themselves and one another. It is a space in which children can learn the skills they need to thrive in life such as effective communication, emotional literacy, anger management, peer mediation and conflict resolution. In addition circle times are used for perspective building, group discussions and consensus building. Circle time enables children to relate with each other with dignity and sensitivity.
Expansion of thinking processes happens by exposure to people who constantly see the larger picture as well as through individual search, research and possibly, through meditation and intuition.
At Prakriya we work at going beyond reductionist thinking and short term results, through encouraging children to ask questions, debate over issues and think about experiences from different perspectives. Collaborative working and problem solving also helps us with wholistic thinking. Interestingly, children love such exercises!
Multiple Intelligence Approach
Howard Gardner’s work around multiple intelligences has had profound impact on thinking and practices in education. The significance of this theory is that it looks at intelligence as a multitude of intelligences and not as a single entity. Each of these intelligences has its own strengths and constraints. This provides multiple ways to teach rather than one and in a way that children are most likely to learn and least likely to distort.