…and so are we.
Hello and welcome to the 40th edition of our fortnightly newsletter, Things in Education.
It has been said out loud multiple times over the last few years. It has been said in government circles, in policy meetings, in educational state board office, in schools, in some educational companies and organisations – Foundational Learning is one of the most important aspects to a bright future for students. To this end, the government made foundational learning one of the key aspects of the National Education Policy in 2020. Then it released an execution document on foundational learning called NIPUN Bharat 2022. This document outlined the execution challenges and how their mitigation can be achieved. Finally, the government also released the National Curriculum Framework: Foundational Stage 2022, which outlined the actual curriculum that schools are expected to follow. We have written about what these documents mean to a teacher or an educator earlier. So suffice it to say, everybody is talking about foundational learning.
Recently, the Ministry of Education hosted the G-20 4th Education Working Group Meeting in Pune. One of the three aspects of the meeting was ‘Teaching Learning Approaches and Pedagogy for FLN in Blended Mode’. So we thought this would be a good time to revisit some of the approaches that we have been sharing with you for more than a year.
We wrote earlier about the essentials of early pedagogy, and today we highlight three of these essentials. We also point you to the different editions in which we have written in more depth about each of these essential aspects.
Talking to and, more importantly, listening to students talk helps students create a model of their understanding of the world around them. Students are reading or listening to storybooks and informational texts every day. Having conversations around these helps in multiple ways. One, students can have a deeper understanding of the story or information, which enables them to retain more efficiently. Having conversations also helps students build context and vocabulary which helps them understand science and math concepts better. If students have already heard or read the sentence, “Adi eats healthy food at home,” then a lesson in science about healthy habits becomes easily relatable for them. This is facilitated better by not just reading or listening to a story with the sentence, but also having conversations about it.
Having conversations which make connections between stories, science or math lessons and students’ day-to-day life experiences is the most effective way to get them to remember. Making connections helps students understand things in a more concrete way. It also helps them relate them to their own experiences. And as we have written before, when there is no context, it is very difficult for students to develop basic skills like reading.
Planning and encouraging multi-sensory learning
Our brains are extremely complex, and different parts of our brains are involved in learning. Simply put, just the sheer function of figuring out ‘how many’ involves diverse parts of the brain. For such reasons, it is important to approach the lessons from a multi-sensory perspective – which means that lessons that stimulate more than one sense are more likely to help students learn deeply. We have written specifically about how this can be done for numeracy, fine-motor development and phonics.
In fact, multi-sensory learning is so crucial even while reading that just the act of reading from the book which a student is holding in their helps cognitive development. And when we read digitally, a lot of the multi-sensory connections may be lost.
We hope this summary is useful for you to put things together and decide for yourself – What is essential in my preschool classroom?
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