When it comes to high-stakes professions, we often hear all about doctors, firefighters, soldiers, engineers, and more. Teaching is often brushed under the rug as a relatively laid-back profession where you can take things easy. However, teaching is an incredibly important, impactful career where the stakes can be immensely high. A teacher can have a huge impact on the students’ lives and can shape their lives for better or for worse.
Moreover, a teacher’s impact is multiplied tenfold when it comes to young learners since younger students rely heavily on their teachers. After parents, their teachers are their main source of guidance and authority. So, knowing how to handle young learners and their unique needs is crucial.
Read below to learn more about the various tips for teaching young learners.
1. Develop a comprehensive curriculum
A teacher’s job isn’t just limited to implementing a curriculum but also developing it. Teaching methods and classroom etiquette come later – what’s most important is the course material that the students are going over. As times and learning styles change, it’s important to keep the curriculum updated. One of the most important tips to remember when teaching young learners is continually updating the course material.
However, curriculum development is an extensive task that requires ample knowledge of teaching methods, demographics, and any other latest developments in the field. You need to ensure that the curriculum being taught is culturally relevant, comprehensive, and in line with the best teaching methods.
An online graduate degree is the best way to equip yourself with these skills and ensure you can give your students the best learning experience possible. For this purpose, the online masters in curriculum and instruction program are tailored toward preK-12 learners, allowing you to hone leadership skills, technology integration, and more.
2. Consider their feedback
One of the biggest mistakes any teacher can make is neglecting to take student feedback. Your students can be a wealth of information when assessing how effective your curriculum and teaching methods are. Students can quickly identify which lessons or methods are more effective than others and pinpoint what makes them stand out.
If you fail to get through to your students, speaking to them and asking for feedback can give you an easy solution. It’s important to note that speaking to your students includes getting in touch with everyone, regardless of performance. Often, you can unearth the most important bits of information and critique from students who aren’t as engaged or performing as well. You can get some pretty amazing insights on making lessons more engaging and memorable from these students. Moreover, asking and taking feedback can show students you care about and respect their opinions.
3. Develop rapport
The classroom is the first place for young learners to interact with children and adults outside their homes. For some, this change can be welcoming, and they might adjust easily. However, other children can be pretty withdrawn and have difficulty opening up to you and your peers. And this won’t just affect them socially but can also significantly impact their academic performance.
However, as a teacher, it can be easy for you to help all students develop rapport with you and among one other. Hosting an introductory session in the first class and asking everyone to play fun games can be an incredible way to break the ice. Two truths and one lie, bringing an important object, or playing a fun group game can get everyone to open up to each other. Additionally, hosting group projects throughout the year can help students work together and learn to work collaboratively.
4. Maintain discipline
While having a comfortable and friendly atmosphere is important, it is equally vital to maintain discipline in the class. Young learners can get notoriously rowdy when left to their own devices, which can greatly impact the learning process for them and other students. So, it’s important to know when to dial up the control and get your students to listen to your instructions.
Establishing some rules early on can help you give the class guidelines for what works and what doesn’t. It is important to strongly discourage bullying or targeted behaviors to keep the learning environment conducive for everyone. Additionally, general rules, such as raising their hand before speaking, not interrupting others, arriving to class on time, and speaking in a low voice, can help you create an environment where everyone can learn properly. You can also introduce additional rules, such as putting away devices, following directions, returning coursework on time, and more.
5. Switch up the routine
One of the biggest issues teachers can face with young learners is that getting them to focus on something for an extended time can be super hard. Children have a notoriously short attention span, and carrying on with anything for more than 10-15 minutes can have them zoning out. If you think you can keep presenting verbally for half an hour or more, chances are most of your students will end up asleep.
Instead of just verbally lecturing them or asking them to read, consider switching up the routine. You can do this by adding in video lectures, movies, and audio to keep your students engaged or adding fun practical experiences too. Asking students to come present, adding additional incentives for class participation, and hosting small field trips can be excellent ways to teach young learners and keep them engrossed. Doing so can also help you cater to the different types of learners and ensure that everyone in your class can perform their best.
Teaching young learners can be an experience as challenging as it is rewarding. However, by following these tips, you can ensure the best possible learning environment for your students. These tips can help you maximize learning for all students, ensure that you can tap into everyone’s potential, and give them a chance at growth and academic excellence. So, begin with devising a proper curriculum, always seek feedback from your students, help them build rapport, and maintain discipline in the classroom. Most importantly, switch up the routine since young learners can easily get distracted and lose interest.