Saturday, June 02, 2007

How to get children to learn reading in a relaxed setting

How do children and even adults learn? By being relaxed. ;-)

Originally uploaded by panzergrenadier.
The picture shows one of my students in the kids-read programme having a whale of a time as we did our group reading using a large ground mat so that the children can jump around and be relaxed.

It was an experiment I tried to see if changing the layout of the classroom would make a difference to how the class progressed. And how it worked!

Children once freed from the confines of their desks and chairs where there is a pre-determined place to sit, a defined space from which to participate in the class, the physical layout imposes rules whether spoken or unspoken about whether you can move around, fidget, explore your space. Once they are set free (as the picture above shows) it allows their natural energy, exuberance and enthusiasm to come forth through them running around, jumping, lying on the mat and trying different types of positions because all this was not possible when they were confined by their desks and chairs.

I found that the lesson was more fun for the children but it made me teaching them somewhat more challenging as they are not so inclined to sit still given the continguous space they were allowed to use. Those children who were more active took advantage of the opportunity to allow their kinesthetic learning styles to emerge! :-)

It was a very energetic class and I found myself literally chasing after some of them as they wanted to even try leaping from the desk onto the ground mat.

Eventually, things got sorted out and we managed to do our class reading as well as break-up into small group reading.

This experiment allowed me to try out another way of teaching the children through exploring the more physical aspects even as we are doing a traditionally sedentary activity such as story reading. It was useful for me to learn to let the children "blow off steam" by allowing them to let their natural energy express itself through they physical movements.

Hmm.. I last tried this format almost a year ago. Perhaps it could be time to try it again this year?

Let's see how it turns out and I will update this blog with the experiment if it is tried again!

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