Monday, January 21, 2013

learning by doing

the traditional method of teaching children involves blackboard. this traditional method uses 2 basic sensory modalities, namely vision and auditory. children see what the teacher is writing and listen what she is saying.

now studies show that to cope with the pace of education, the traditional method of teaching has to be replaced by something that involves more sensory modalities of a child, so that he is more involved, more oriented and more focused.

so education psychologists have been trying to encourage the multisensory methods to be reinforced in classrooms. the modern methods like smart boards, educational toys, videos, etc engage more sensory modalities of a child. the modern multisensory method is also referred to as VAKT method. VAKT means:

V= visual (the child sees)
A= auditory (the child hears)
K= kinesthetic (the child does and manipulates)
T= tactile (the child touches and feels)

VAKT methods are extensively used for remediation by special educators and occupational therapists. children suffering from learning disabilities show tremendous improvement when they start learning by doing.

so why not teachers? if teachers start using VAKT methods, many children at risk of dyslexia can also be taken care of easily in a group.

when children are allowed to learn by doing, they learn better. they understand better. they remember better. these methods can be used for small and big children both.

some examples of VAKT to teach small kids:
  1. to teach colors: asking the child to lace all red balls in one row and all yellow balls in another, instead of showing the two colors from a book.
  2. to teach shapes: asking the child to roll out play-dough and cut out circles and squares, instead of showing the two shapes from a book.
  3. to teach alphabets: asking the child to trace fingers on sand paper letters or asking him to make long noodles with play-dough and then form alphabets with them, instead of only tracing and writing on paper.
  4. to teach addition: asking the child to take out 2 apples from the fridge and keep in a basket, then asking to take 1 more apple out, and then asking to tell you how many apples are there in the basket instead of doing 2+1 in a worksheet by drawing lines
  5. to teach subtraction: asking the child how many apples are left in the fridge now
  6. to teach measurement: giving measuring tape to the child and asking him to find out how far the fridge is from dining chair, instead of teaching 1metre=100 cm
this is just a very small list of few VAKT activities to give you a feel of how to move on from typical books/blackboards to using various objects around for a deeper sense of learning.

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