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How Can Teachers Make Learning Fun For Children?

The last few months of the academic year are easily the most challenging. With fewer festivals and holidays to look forward to, and with assessments and exams that usually show up on the calendar at this time of the year, we often find a slump in student motivation and interest in learning.

While students and parents are usually the ones being given suggestions and advice on how to stay motivated, seize the year, create SMART goals, etc., here are five simple yet effective teaching tips to ensure our students love school:

Focus on Student Agency

Students are and should be at the centre of our approach to learning and teaching and therefore, students are agents of their own and others’ learning. When students take ownership of their learning, the classroom is dynamic, where the teacher is the facilitator and partner along the journey.

Student voice and choice are at the heart of learning and this in turn enables them to be more actively engaged in their learning, leading to better collaboration with their peers. In the process, as teachers, we are in a better position to recognise our students’ skills, abilities, interests, and passions, such that we are able to personalise learning, extend student thinking and action, and offer opportunities for students to be creative.

Foster Positive Relationships

Every student deserves to have adults in school who truly and evidently care about them enough to be intentional about building positive relationships with them. This enables students to be their true selves without having to wonder if they will be loved or accepted for who they are.

Students can only learn from adults they like, which means, the onus is on us as teachers to build a community of learners that finds value in creating a sense of belongingness within and outside the classroom.

This might look like using a specific time to talk about how each student spent their weekend, or it could mean spending two minutes a day for ten consecutive days to build a better relationship with the “button-pusher” of the class, but it is also as simple as knowing each student by name and greeting them each day with enthusiasm. They should know you love having them in your class.

Provide Differentiated Learning Experiences

Every student is unique, which means their learning needs, styles, and capabilities are different too. In order for students to truly love coming to school, school/learning needs to be designed for them considering these factors. It is imperative to engage all students so that every student feels like they have a place in the classroom community. Giving students choices about how they learn enables them to meet learning objectives in the best way for them.

What does this look like? Giving learners options to choose from in assignments, providing different types of learning materials, employing personalised learning strategies, and tailor-made lessons to suit multiple forms of intelligence.

Create a Safe Environment

Unless students feel safe, they cannot truly thrive. As teachers, it is our responsibility to create and nurture a safe environment for all our students, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, skin colour, aptitude, etc. Our classrooms need to be a safe haven for students to express themselves freely and fearlessly, knowing they are cared for and safe. This also includes working with your students to create a safe space for them.

Are you approachable? Do your students know they can count on you? Are students aware of how to report abuse? Do they trust that you will believe them? Do they see you advocate for them? Do they see you deal with bullying behaviours seriously?

Have Fun Together

Teachers might have colossal portions of the curriculum to cover, a plethora of assessments to conduct, and detailed reports to write but don’t forget to have fun with your students. It’s okay to play a game of football with your students at lunch break or set aside time on your timetable to play a game that doesn’t have anything to do with their learning. Let your students know you for who you truly are, more than just as Mr. X or Ms. Y. In order to connect with your students, make sure to balance both fun and academics.

-Written by Neeti Sarkar, Primary Student Counsellor, Stonehill International School, Bangalore

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