What do you consider when you choose the activities for your lessons? Do you consider how students express their individuality? What you are trying to teach and how to teach it to your students? I take into account individual needs and preferences. When I use a song, for example, I try to include actions and movement for the kids who hate singing but love moving! And I invite one or two of those natural leaders we have in every class to lead the group from the front of the classroom.
But how can you spot those character traits? By paying attention to the individuality and preferences of each student, to what they do, say, and demonstrate in the classroom and outside the classroom.
Play-based learning and free play are crucial in the development of a child’s identity. While playing, they express their feelings about their uniqueness or about being (or trying to be) like their classmates.
You can generate many other opportunities for students to express their individuality. When my students enter the classroom in the morning, I greet each of them with a hug, a fist bump, or any other way they choose. Why not with a little dance or foot-bump? That aids their identity as well as strengthens teacher-student bonds.
A child may watch rather than participate, or he or she may misbehave to get attention. They often need to “talk out” their feelings and problems and speak up if something is unfair. Young children have a strong sense of self – they will always let you know what they want, even if it means saying no to something you request.
These are some of the many ways in which they express their distinctive individuality, needs, and preferences. Try to be aware of each of them when you plan your teaching activities. That will help you create an environment respectful of their identity and full of opportunities for them to grow as individuals.
And of course, always enjoy the time you share with your students, watching how they learn, enjoy, and develop.