Young and therefore wearing their unique hearts on their sleeves, children are impressionable. They take to instructions with the kind of humility that only formative and enthusiastic minds that are hungry to learn, can have. However, children emulate and imitate the adults around them; their caregivers whom they trust, revere, and put upon a pedestal.
At Nalapad Academy, we are particular about following through our words and values, with aligning actions. Our team has believed that children deserve to be surrounded by an environment that helps them thrive and children thrive at their optimum best when they are allowed a chance at holistic development. It isn’t sufficient to equip children, in today’s highly competent world, with concepts from the textbook alone.
Each child is an independent individual who comes from their respective contextual background and therefore comes with different needs. An active effort made towards recognising student’s needs may go a long way.
Seven Benefits of Learning Children’s Needs
- Leading by Action – To an adult’s mind, the significance of setting the example by action, may not seem very effective. To a child though, the ability to learn from unspoken lessons goes a very long way. When a child watches their teachers making the effort to understand the needs of their students; children learn by observation. Believing in the same, we at Nalapad Academy encourage the practice where teachers and students have snacks and meals together which plays a vital role in building student-teacher relationship. A particular student may be too shy to speak in a group and another, too energetic to sit still. When the teacher encourages the shy child gently and with the same grace, channelizes the energy in the excited child; the entire classroom learns the value of gentle approach, of respecting every individual for who they are, and the need for contextual understanding. We at Nalapad Academy also encourage team discussions and assigning responsibilities keeping in mind individual’s strengths and areas of interest as a part of inter-house competitions which caters to and channelizes each student’s energy.
- Recognising the Need for Constructive Criticism and Unique Sensitivities – Not every child is sensitive to the same degree. Some children are inherently tough and criticism from teachers may not affect them negatively. Some other students however may be sensitive to criticism and even as the teacher may intend to aid them; it may not be understood in the same spirit. Accepting every child’s needs and ability to process criticisms, we practice a 1 to 1 feedback system (which is child specific and confidential) after every formative assessment (which is not limited to paper-pen assessment). We also work with students on a 1 to 1 level through support classes, where the facilitator uses different techniques keeping in mind the student’s needs. Identifying the need for constructive criticism coupled with the unique sensitivity-based needs in every child may benefit the student with both growth and with establishing a healthy relationship with their teacher.
- Differing Interests and Subsequent Attention Spans – Children may demonstrate the tendency of paying more attention to the subjects that they may be interested in. While some students can pay the same kind of attention to the other subjects, some may display their disinterest rather blatantly. At Nalapad Academy, we acknowledge every child is different and has different abilities, strengths and interests. We as facilitators try to vary the outcomes possible for a specific activity- while some present their understanding through writing an essay, some could illustrate their response, some would be comfortable to use presentations to showcase their findings, and some demonstrate the same through projects and models. This autonomy in presenting one’s understanding of the subject not only builds interest in the subject but also boosts the confidence and skills of the student. While it shows the child’s ability to identify what they do and do not like, any disinterest and absence of attention span may reflect upon the child’s performance. A teacher who can identify the said pattern may be able to enable the child to channelize their attention equally by inspiring the child.
- Abundant Curiosities that May Need to Be Directed – Curiosity while it can be the biggest boon to being a child, children are often unguarded in their pursuits towards curiosities. Like little kittens, they are drawn to everything they do not know and it may be a result of seeking to know more. When teachers are aware of the child’s thirst to know; the teacher is able to direct the child better. We not only understand the importance of tapping the right chord but also believe in rightly directing and channelising a child’s curiosity. We practice the same through child specific projects, surveys, recording of trivia and journals through guided channels (i.e., under parent or teacher supervision).
- Shyness, Fear, and Insecurities – Children while they are enthusiastic, can sometimes take to being aloof and shy. Not every child may immediately take to change and newness. As adults who recognise that change may be the only constant, it is crucial for teachers to recognise the fears that underline the students’ shy behaviours. When they are encouraged, children are often able to get past their growing insecurities and can blossom into confident young adults. At Nalapad Academy, we believe in the holistic development of the child which is why we not only emphasize on the child’s physical , intellectual development but we pay equal attention to the child’s emotional and psychological development. Having different windows open like personal or individual counselling sessions; holding workshops on puberty and hygiene; and organising awareness programmes about sensitive topics like importance of mental health, seeking professional help and having healthy discussions are part of our curriculum in building a responsible and healthy global citizen of tomorrow.
- Children Can Be Afraid to Ask Doubts – Even as teachers may be completely open to clarifying doubts in their students, children may sometimes be afraid of asking their doubts. As teachers, being aware of a child’s inhibitions is important as we can effectively encourage them to interact freely. Student – teacher bond plays an integral role in the Nalapad Academy culture. We endorse a 3-year mentoring programme in order to ensure that the child gradually builds enough confidence and trust in the facilitator that they are able to ask any question freely. We also encourage the M.A.A.T programme (Mentor Assisted Assignment Time) where individual attention is provided to students to clear their doubts and encourage independent solving of problems.
- Children Enjoy Variety – Being aware that children take to a diverse way of learning may be very crucial. Some days, children throw tantrums and oftentimes adults may not understand that their moods are not synonymous to being unwelcoming to learning. One of the best ways to tease out a temperamental mood out of a child, is to be aware of the child’s favourite learning method. In today’s world, the method of teaching has assumed a great deal of experimental volume and as educators, it is necessary to make use of the same. At Nalapad Academy, we do not believe in monotonous pedagogy (classroom teaching alone), but we believe in creating learning experiences through field trips, CCA (Co-Curricular Activities), V.Ed (Value Education classes), celebrating diversities in culture through student led assemblies, usage of technology as part of their project submission, hands on activities and autonomy in conducting experiments across grades to name a few.
Being Aware of Our Children’s Needs at Nalapad Academy
At Nalapad Academy, we prioritise knowing the unique needs of our children. As adults, we tend to forget that children come with a worldview that can be all welcoming in ways that adulthood denies us. To delve into their beautiful worlds may be extremely significant in order to understand them a little better. As teachers at Nalapad Academy, we thoroughly enjoy exploring the needs of our students and as we cater to them with awareness, we are rewarded with fruitful results.