Teachers primarily have three wishes that are vital to teaching and learning success. Teachers want children to:
Be Happy and enjoy the lessons; Behave in an appropriate way; and Learn as much as possible.
The First Wish – We Want Children to Be Happy!
Children must have developed a positive self-esteem in order for them to be happy, and this evolves from outside of the classroom within the home environment. Nonetheless, teachers are crucial in developing a child’s positive self-esteem everyday in the classroom, and children must feel respected and valued by teachers in order to see themselves in a positive way.
According to Andrés, who authored Self-esteem in the Classroom or the Metamorphosis of Butterflies in Affect in Language Learning, “…although parents hold the key to children’s self-esteem, teachers hold a spare one…”
Self-esteem is based on children feeling the following Five senses internally, and strongly centered within – – (S.I.B.P.P.)
- Security – feeling safe and not threatened.
- Identity – knowing who you are.
- Belonging – feeling part of your community.
- Purpose – having reasons for doing things.
- Personal Competence – having a belief in your ability to do things.
The Second Wish – We Want Children to Behave in an Appropriate Way!
Teachers influence children’s behavior, and in developing a child’s positive self-esteem in the classroom directly links to the way they behave. According to Reed, “…Children have a deep-seated need for the important adults in their lives to appreciate, like and value them…”
If a teacher is able to instill the morals and values associated with a positive self-esteem, as outlined above, so that children are made to feel a strong sense of security; sense of identity; sense of belonging; sense of purpose; and sense of personal competence, then there is seldom a need for a child to seek attention in a negative way and misbehave in the classroom.
The Third Wish – We Want Children to Learn as Much as Possible!
When teachers create an environment where children feel a sense of achievement; where they enjoy the material being taught; find it relevant, purposeful and challenging, then there is progression in learning. Children must feel personal satisfaction in order to experience a sense of achievement.
Again, weaved together, self-esteem, behavior and achievement, all of which are encompassed in a triangle of influence. Powerful! Yet, the way in which teachers accomplish this may be either positive or negative.
One way to maximize achievement is to differentiate instruction in application of the Seven Intelligences, keeping in mind that this concept is not simply to design activities teachers think are cool, but rather to structure lessons that are planned to around how students in your classroom learn best.
Gardner defines intelligence as “the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting” (Gardner & Hatch, 1989). Multiple Intelligences is a practical pedagogical framework, and organizational tool for planning lessons and units of work to meet the diverse characteristics, and needs of ALL of the children in a classroom.
Children do not learn the same material, in the same way, and our educational system tends to be heavily biased towards linguistic modes of instruction and assessment. Tasks and activities must engage, or provide ‘entry points’ to learning in everyday classroom life, because children learn in ways that are identifiably distinctive.
Gardner’s Learning styles are as follows:
Linguistic – using words effectively. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words. They like reading, playing word games, making up poetry or stories. They can be taught by encouraging them to say and see the words, read books together. Tools include computers, games, multimedia, books, tape recorders, and lecture.
Bodily-kinesthetic – use the body effectively, like a dancer or a surgeon. Keen sense of body awareness. They like movement, making things, touching. They communicate well through body language and be taught through physical activity, hands-on learning, acting out, role playing. Tools include equipment and real objects.
Logical-Mathematical – reasoning, calculating. Think conceptually, abstractly, and are able to see and explore patterns and relationships. They like to experiment, solve puzzles, ask cosmic questions. They can be taught through logic games, investigations, mysteries. They need to learn and form concepts before they can deal with the details.
Visual-Spatial – think in terms of physical space (architects and sailors). Very aware of their environments. They like to draw, do jigsaw puzzles, read maps, daydream. They can be taught through drawings, verbal and physical imagery. Tools include: models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, videoconferencing, television, multimedia, pictures, charts & graphs.
Musical – show sensitivity to rhythm and sound. They love music, but they are also sensitive to sounds in their environments. They may study better with music in the background. They can be taught by turning lessons into lyrics, speaking rhythmically, tapping out time. Tools include: Musical instruments, music, radio, stereo, CD-ROM, multimedia.
Intrapersonal – understanding one’s own interests, goals. These learners tend to shy away from others. They’re in tune with their inner feelings; they have wisdom, intuition, and motivation, as well as a strong will, confidence and opinions. They can be taught through independent study and introspection. Tools include: books, creative materials, diaries, privacy and time. They are the most independent of the learners.
Interpersonal – understanding, interacting with others. These students learn through interaction. They have many friends, empathy for others, street smarts. They can be taught through group activities, seminars, dialogues. Tools include the telephone, audio conferencing, time and attention from the instructor, video conferencing, writing, computer conferencing, E-Mail.
In Conclusion, children will Be Happy if they feel S.I.B.P.P. (Security, Identity, Belonging, Purpose, and Personal Competence) – a positive self-esteem, your first wish! Behavior is closely linked to self-esteem, and the children behave when they feel valued, admired, and respected by a teacher, and that will result in your second wish! Last, achievement and success in the classroom is accomplished by meeting the needs of learners in application of a thorough understanding of multiple intelligences, as this provides powerful ‘entry points’ for children in learning, your third wish!