Keeping children engaged

Geeta Gujral

It is not surprising when we hear students talk about classes being boring or exciting. Have we ever thought why students avoid some classes and look forward to some others? It is not the child’s attitude here. It is the attitude of the teacher that makes the difference. We can all make a difference if we plan the class from the learner’s point of view. So how do we do that? It is really simple. Keep the topic being taught as the focus but do build activities which engage the students.

A simple topic like “Transport” for the primary and pre-primary level can have an interdisciplinary approach. Modifications can be made depending on the age group of the students. For that we need to reach out to the students in a balanced diet format for the best possible growth.

A song or a self-composed poem and an audio-visual story with exciting music, colours and visuals related to transport works well as a starter. This can be followed by discussions/debates on related topics such as, over speeding, pollution, parking issues, use of car pools and kinds of fuel.

Digital worksheets made specifically for the target group on perhaps the number of wheels in the vehicles or the speed of the vehicles (in ascending and descending order) get students hooked to the task! ‘Matching the Flashcards’ to teach road signs can be fun in the classrooms.

The students can then move on to identify the sounds of the fire engine, ambulance or a police car. This when followed by role plays where the students dial the emergency numbers to call for emergency vehicles, helps them learn life skills and alongside their speaking skills are honed.

Situations for application and critical thinking are provided where the students talk about how they travel locally and the kinds of transport that is best suited and why? They also analyze and conclude why travelling, for example by air, is better/or not feasible when going from one place to another. Math comes into play when they compare and contrast the speed and amount spent on the tickets to make choices.

The students then design a vehicle which they think would be the best means of transport to be used locally/globally. They then talk about it and share their views in the class. Creativity reaches its pinnacle when they design advertisements to sell their vehicles by portraying its usefulness. They also compose jingles for conveying their message.

Students can also make a collage with the latest news related to transport for example: e-rickshaw, electric cars, new kinds of trains being introduced globally, the latest technology at the airports etc. This builds their reading habit. Calling a guest speaker to talk about metro etiquette or road etiquette takes the message to the parents through the children making the world a better place to be in.

Field trips to the traffic park, police station or a ride in a local metro makes their learning more comprehensive. Trips can also be virtual.

Crosswords, online games and digital story telling prove beneficial. Technology has to be woven in for the best results. So a virtual tour of the world needs to be part of the lesson plan for the desired results.

The author is Supervisor at DPS International School, New Delhi. She can be reached at [email protected].

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