Watering The Seeds The Blossoming of Creativity in the Classroom

We tend to think of creativity as an intriguing personality trait, but one that is only useful in practice to the artist or the aimless dreamer. But what if I told you that creativity, not in spite of the due emphasis on the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), is an increasingly essential skill to our children’s success, both in school and on the job?

Frankly, a non-creative person is an unadaptable person. Moreover, a person who cannot adapt cannot survive the turbulence of our ever-changing world. So why do we continue to push models of education that limit creativity in favor of rote memorization?

Of course, the transfer of traditional knowledge and information is needed for students to grow. However, that information would be little more than arbitrary if not for the creative ingenuity that transforms it into something meaningful in our minds. At a certain point, intellectual growth and evolution, skills like real-time problem solving, and the very seeds of entrepreneurial thought cannot take place without this ingenuity, so the fact that our educational system is based largely on spreading and storing data while neglecting creativity warrants

Multiple Intelligences Theory – An ECE perspective

In his book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner claims that all human beings do not have a single intelligence but actually possess a set of multiple autonomous intelligences. How does this relate to the young child, and how can we as early childhood teachers use the MI theory to assess children?

Gardner (2011) has defined intelligence as, “the ability to solve problems, or to create products, that are valued within one or more cultural settings – a definition that says nothing about either the sources of these abilities or the proper means of ‘testing’ them” (p.xxviii). He proposes three different uses of the term intelligence. It is a property that all people have, it is used in different ways, and is applied to carry out tasks to achieve a goal. “These intelligences (or competencies) relate to a person’s unique aptitude, set of capabilities and ways they might prefer to demonstrate intellectual abilities” (http://www.niu.edu).

Howard Gardner has challenged the assumption that intelligence is a single entity that can be measured purely through IQ testing. He also questioned Piaget’s work on cognitive development

Learning through Play

All children are engrossed in exploration and play in order to comprehend and make sense of the world around them. To analyse the importance of play during the early years I offer a brief summary in this reflection of mine.

Before the development of oral language children are engrossed in sensory and physical exploration as a natural process to understand their immediate environment. There are a number of definitions to define play and one cannot deny the significance in the learning that takes place through play. Theorists like Piaget and Vygotsky considered play to be an important part of childhood as a path to the learning process.

Learning through play for Piaget was defined as a movement through practice play, imaginative play, and continuing on to play with a set of rules. On the other hand, Vygotsky thought that children could be assisted in moving from their level of performance to a level of what they could have a potential of doing. Vygotsky believed the zone of proximal development was created through play which was when children could, “operate at their highest possible cognitive level” (Smidt, 2006, p. 46).

A caring and comforting school

My wife died when my daughter was just four. She took it very hard and became a very quiet and sullen child. Her teachers advised me to take her for counseling but even that didn’t seem to help. After three years, I moved to Bangalore to be closer to family. Even being closer to family didn’t help her come out of the shell she seemed to have gone into. After visiting many schools, I decided to enroll her in Candor International School.  Though the school was very big almost 20 acres the school was new and just had 200 students. So I thought the small number of students would make her feel less intimidated.

At first there wasn’t much difference. She was still quiet but slowly I found her starting to talk more, draw, paint and make and play with friends in the new apartment complex. I was extremely curious and wanted to know what had changed. So one weekend I went across to meet her class teacher. Her teacher had also noticed the difference and said that my daughter had befriended another student who also experienced a loss of a parent recently. Both the girls bonded immediately. That student somehow

Effective Teaching

A student spends most of her productive waking hours in school. Thus, teachers play a pivotal role in her life. It is very important for a teacher to assess the needs of her students. A comfortable and congenial environment is very important for effective teaching and learning.

Students will feel motivated to learn only if they understand the significance of what they are learning. A teacher knows that all the knowledge imparted in school, according to the prescribed syllabus, may not directly fulfill the needs of each of her students. However, through her teaching, she can create the need, the urge to learn by connecting the theoretical with the practical i.e. interlinking the knowledge that she wants to impart with the day-to-day relevance of such knowledge.

It is very important for a teacher to plan her lessons in advance. However, sticking to the plan to the core is not advisable. There should be enough scope in her lesson plan to incorporate changes that make teaching and learning more effective. A teacher, who is prepared, is confident. She comes across as someone who is sure of what she is doing and this creates a degree of

Bullying – A misnomer in preschool terminology

The idea of of writing this musing is to present a case to state that the word ‘bully’ is not a relevant one to describe a child in an ECE environment.

As a teacher, I have always thought it inappropriate to label children in this age group with a negative connotation. This has long term effects on a child as he could very easily grow out of a particular behaviour with guidance at this stage of development. These are the years for children to develop their social skills, and comprehend the foundation for socially acceptable behaviour. I feel that the word ‘bully’ has a very negative connotation for any young child before they even comprehend the concept. Let me reason why I believe ‘bullies’ do not exist in early childhood settings and why we should not label them so. Behaviour management is an important area for us as teachers to keep reflecting on. We need to keep working on strategies depending on the type of behaviour of the individual child that we are addressing. I consider the development of social skills for children as the key factor for teachers to address and promote in the environment.

Farrell (1999) states that, “A range

Comprehension Strategies and Routines Based on Research Knowledge

This article explores four evidence-based comprehension reading strategies and one comprehension routine relevant to improving reading comprehension for struggling readers. The four research based comprehension routines discussed will be as follows: visual representation-mental imagery, summarization, and strategies used by good readers.  The comprehension routine will discuss inferring and/or drawing conclusions.  All of these research-based strategies and comprehension routines are important to the effectiveness of teaching reading and being a child in a classroom.

“ There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.  When it comes to comprehension, this saying might be paraphrased, “a visual display helps readers understand, organize, and remember some of those thousand words.”  (as cited in Duke and Pearson, 2002, p. 218).  Visual representation and mental imagery are very important to the reader.  When children see an image, it helps put things in a different perspective in reference to what is occurring in the story. The right comprehension strategy can mean the start or the end to a wondrous relationship with reading.

Children of all ages, grade levels, and those with disabilities can use mental imagery to digest what has been read as it provides them with a mental picture in their head.  Early

Helping Children Become Writers

Toni Bickart, author of WHAT EVERY PARENTS NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT  FIRST, SECOND,  AND THIRD GRADES  observed:  “The process of learning how to write begins at a very early age.  Young children, using crayons or markers, write with great enthusiasm and eagerness.  Toddlers and preschoolers think that all they have to do is pick up a pen and scrawl little lines and dots.

Gradually, they realize that writing is speech in the form of symbols on paper, so they talk and scribble away and expect you to read this scribble.  As their fine motor skills develop, children draw pictures and dictate words to accompany the pictures.  Sometimes they try to write words.  They may start with words they remember seeing somewhere, or they may attempt to write the sounds they hear when they say the words aloud.  For example, a child might write “d” or DG” for “DOG.”  From these modest but enthusiastic beginnings, writers emerge.”

The following advice will help your child develop strong writing skills:

First, encourage writing at home.  Bernard Ryan, author of HELPING YOUR CHILD START  SCHOOL  concluded:  “Children get a big kick out of writing their own stories and poems, even jokes and riddles.  Encourage your child to write

What everyone needs to know about education

The most striking thing about our public schools is that they have been in perpetual decline for many decades. Why?

The government has its own tests called the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); these tests regularly suggest that two-thirds of fourth-graders and eighth-graders are “below proficient” in reading. That’s what decline looks like. It’s guaranteed those two-thirds will never be literate as that term has been traditionally used. Some may learn to read in a painful struggling way but they won’t be reading a daily paper or curling up with a good book. And yet, a century ago, this country was said to be headed toward universal literacy.

A single anecdote can tell you more than years of statistics. College professors report that incoming freshmen often do not know, for example, what 7×8 is. This is totally fascinating. Ask yourself, could schools be this bad by accident? Or wouldn’t somebody have to carefully organize the school to be this bad?

Another fascinating kind of evidence is a dozen books written from the 1950s to the present, with titles like So Little for the Mind, Educational Wastelands, Quackery in the Public Schools, Brainwashing in the High Schools, Why Johnny Can’t Read, The New

Significance of identifying different types of learners

There are three different types of learners – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Visual learners have a photographic memory. They create a mental picture of everything they learn. Auditory learners are active listeners.  They learn best by listening and can memorize and recall things easily. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. They want to be active all the time.

My experience of assessing the different types of learners in my classroom has indeed been an interesting one. I feel that it is very easy to classify some learners whereas it is extremely difficult to classify the others. The visual learners stare at me all the time while I am teaching. They draw flowcharts and maps in their notebooks. They enjoy watching PowerPoint presentations and short videos.

The auditory learners listen to me very carefully. They are disturbed by sounds in the corridor, the playground etc. They enjoy participating in group discussions. They could memorize things very easily.

The kinesthetic learners are hyper active. They don’t like sitting at one place for more than five minutes. Unless they are allowed to express themselves in some way in the class, they become very restless. Some of them even start day

How to Plan Your School Administration Process

There is no school without a proper network of education and administration. Schools and colleges need to understand the importance of it in order to survive in the education industry. Proper planning is required if an admin wants his/her academic institute to flourish in the market, therefore, a well-designed work plan need to be made available for the entire teaching staff so that no one has to depend on each other.

Before taking any major decisions, all a school needs to do is automate its paperwork and provide the academic institute with a well-organized administration system. After that, the admin needs to shove off all the extra working hands since most of them won’t be needed after cloud-based technology has entered the system. After the initial changes have been made, the admin needs to make sure all departments are digitized.  

Any person with basic knowledge of computers can be able to run the educational management software therefore; the admin needs to assign just one or two workers to handle the cloud-based administration system. As far as the education department is concerned, teachers don’t have to be over burdened with extra work such as

April is Diversity Awareness Month

April is Diversity Awareness Month, a celebration of our different races and cultures that make up the United States of America. Many schools, colleges and organizations are planning events to promote understanding and respect of all races and cultures.

As a bully prevention specialist, I see the value of diversity awareness. The more we understand, the more we are tolerant of each other.

February is Black History Month and April is Diversity Awareness Month. Both inspire us to want to learn about one another.

Desmond Tutu once said: “A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.”

The more we learn about each others cultures and beliefs the less likely we will believer our underlying assumptons, prejudice and mis-information about our neighbers.

I was speaking at a high school not too ong ago, when I arrived I was trying to locate the school office to sign in. I approached three girls in the hallway to ask for directions. They took one look at my right arm and screamed. (I have a birth defect, a short right hand with only two fingers.) After I finished my program on diversity, understanding and tolerance, all three girls came up to me with tears in their eyes