Serving my fourth year of teaching, I can confidently say that ‘times have changed’ from an educational perspective. In the sense that the learning methods from my time as a student is different compared to the generation I teach today. Why am I sharing this blog? Well, I want to share an insight into today’s world of education for parents, and metaphorically, let them inside the classroom.
Understanding of Students
Firstly, the understanding of students needs to be apparent. In more depth, understanding students’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as building a rapport and connection with students is more important than before. As I reflect on my time at school, I can recall the connection and rapport that I had with teachers was not all evident – a few I connected with, and others, not so much. It is with no surprise that the teachers I connected with, were the ones I respected more and performed better academically for. Although rapport and connection was not a ‘big thing’ as such back then, teachers who took the time to connect with me got the most out of me through that effort. Personally, connection and rapport are the two most important things in teaching. My teaching philosophy is that “learning comes second to connection and rapport between teacher-student”. Click here for further information. Most students will respect teachers because that is the way that they are brought up, in a household or culture where ‘respect for elders’ is required. Therefore, the respect is there from the start however, the deeper this connection and rapport is, the deeper they are able to connect with the teacher which will lead to a better performance academically.
The teaching approaches are also different today in comparison to ‘back in the day’ or more formally, traditional teaching. In a traditional classroom, when I journeyed through school, it was an ‘expectation’ of completing things in one way only, we all heard of the saying “my way or the highway”. In today’s world, it is more flexible, new teaching methods such as ‘Inquiry Based Learning’ or ‘Project Based Learning’ is apparent and a lot of schools are implementing the ‘new normal’ of content delivery. Children are given more freedom in learning, in the sense that there is no single way of completing tasks, but rather uses students’ strengths or their own uniqueness to complete the learning. Obviously if students choose to do the task in a longer or ineffective way, then the teachers will show them the quicker way or efficient way, but nonetheless, students’ understanding is seen as a priority.
Why is this happening? Because this method allows students to focus on modern day skills and capabilities of collaborating with others, sharing and discussing ideas, solving problems and other life skills that are essential for student development, while learning at the same time. Furthermore, the time frame of completing tasks are also longer than before, students may be given a few lessons or a whole week to complete tasks in the Major Key Learning Areas such as Literacy and Numeracy. And lastly, the traditional way was boring, the stigma of ‘learning is not meant to be fun’ whereas in today’s society, teachers are highly encouraged to make learning as fun as possible for the students to promote student engagement.
From a teacher’s point of view, we need to change and adjust our way of teaching. It is a time for us to ‘constantly evolve, or else we will dissolve in the new normal of teaching’. If we don’t adjust, then the students will suffer. It is in our power to make a difference each day, to constantly collaborate with our team to make learning as fun, engaging and meaningful as possible, so that students can ‘connect’ with the work which relates to them!
Patience. Now that you have an insight into how teaching operates, it is important that you show your children ‘patience’ at home with their learning. Learning is different now. So the ‘traditional’ way may work in some cases, but it is different to how children today are learning inside their classrooms. When asking your child a question, or if they are stuck on a particular question, let them struggle, let them be quiet and think, let them work it out even if they take five or ten minutes, because all students learn differently, and each child should be given the opportunity to learn in their own unique way. Rather than telling your child the answer or the strategy of solving the answer, guide them in the direction that you are thinking of. All of this takes patience.