Effective learning techniques for early development and growth

Hands-on learning tehniquesCourtesy

Children are multi-dimensional beings whose development is complex and rich. They depend heavily on parents, family members, educators, and other caregivers such as their teachers to develop the right skills, become independent, and lead a healthy life. As we watch children grow and learn, it becomes rapidly evident that each child has their own way of learning and interacting with the world around them. A child may spend hours curled up with a book while the other may look forward to going outside to play football. One child may show interest in creating structures with building blocks, while another may want to pull apart objects apart to discover how they work.

Different children learn in different ways. Children learn better when their individual learning styles are recognised and supported. The concept of ‘teaching style’ or ‘learning technique’ has drawn widespread attention in the field of education for many years. However, what really are learning techniques, and how useful is it to focus on them in educational practices for children?

The early years of children are crucial for later health and development. Nurturing, responsive, and flexible learning techniques tailored for each child according to their requirements can help them learn better. However, simply placing their minds into boxes and giving them material that matches their ‘style’ will not make the learning process exciting and deep-rooted. Instead, utilising different learning methods and building personalised relationships will truly improve their adaptability and willingness to learn.

Take, for example, visual learners; they love to analyze and observe pictures, diagrams, and charts that demonstrate information in order of importance. Whether teachers are using whiteboard, smartboard, or giving presentations, if they take enough time to explain tricky situations through graphs and images, visual learners will be able to learn better. Additionally, teachers can allow them to draw doodles or pictures regarding what they are learning to reinforce retention.

Another teaching technique is the Montessori method which is based on collaborative play, hands-on learning, and self-directed activities. The Montessori environment is pleasing in appearance, spacious, and comprises elements that each have a specific use. This teaching method fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in all areas of their development—cognitive, emotional, social, and physical.

Likewise, there are various other learning techniques that assist children who prefer to follow verbal directions or help those who like to physically observe something being done. Learning styles are shaped by prior experience, as well as cognitive, emotional, and environmental factors.

Learning is a life-long process. For children, whether they are looking to grasp a challenging subject in the classroom, are in pursuit of progressive development, or simply attempting to remember information better, understanding how they learn can be just as important as what they learn. When used from a very early age, these learning techniques become the fundamental building blocks in shaping children’s minds and preparing them for a future where they are ready to tackle whatever is thrown at them.

Educational institutions, especially primary schools, play a vital role in building children’s early skills and development. This is why it is important for them to accommodate effective learning styles into the curriculum. This will help them to absorb what is being taught without being overwhelmed by the demand of excelling well in school.

To teach is not an act of answering questions but raising questions and opening doors to places the mind can explore at ease

Recently, in Bangladesh, DPS STS School Dhaka has introduced a Montessori education session and a special mentorship programme under its science and technology club for effective learning. These initiatives will help children learn through different interesting activities in an environment that is best suited to their age. Besides, through these techniques, they will also create opportunities for children to increase their command over science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the most fun and exciting ways.

To teach is not an act of answering questions but raising questions and opening doors to places the mind can explore at ease. Much like DPS, more schools should start exploring different kinds of learning techniques and incorporate them into their education systems. Learning is one of the most essential ingredients of growth. It involves far more than merely acquiring inert knowledge in mathematics or biology. The critical building blocks of learning and development begin during early childhood. Therefore, we should begin teaching our children using different learning techniques to help them learn better and in a substantiable matter.

* Bijo Kurian is Vice-Principal, DPS STS School