As a teacher, you know well that every single child has his own unique abilities and learning skills. The class will always have mixed personalities and several challenges to your teaching abilities may arise. You can often observe that some children are behind others when it comes to lessons and other activities such as communicating with each other. They are the ones who need more attention as well as support and encouragement.
The reason, maybe, is that those children may have speech or language problems and they are having a hard time understanding other people. It may seem hard to deal with them because of their condition. Most teachers think that since they did not have the proper training, they will have difficulties in handling this situation. But dealing with these kids, is just similar to teaching other normal kids. You have to have the passion and the determination to help the kid correct his defects and encourage him to communicate with others. Sometimes, the caring attitude and the encouragement you can give the child are enough to help him overcome his communication problems. There is not much need for a specialized training regarding the child’s conditions.
In aiming to help a child overcome his speech problems, giving him specific activities for speech improvement is not the best way. You must think of much more ways to assist him other than give him particular tasks that will not do him so much good. You must then monitor him through all the routines even after the tasks were accomplished and engage him into a lot of interactions.
During the class, you must keep in mind to observe him not just for a particular activity but through out the class and every time you have the chance to interact with him. There are some key points you have to keep in mind in teaching the any kids regarding language. Here are some suggestions on how parents or teachers can encourage the kids into talking and communicating.
1. Observe the child first to know up to what extent are his abilities. Assess from time to time to know if there are some improvements in what he can and he cannot do. Take not of any improvement, no matter how big or small it is.
2. Think yourself as a foreign teacher. In teaching a foreign language, you should start from the basics and keep a slower pace. You can apply this in talking to the child. Talk to him slowly and make sure he understands everything you’ve said. Repeat or rephrase your statement until he understands completely. The teacher should speak at a rate the child can grasp and understand so that the child can respond successfully.
3. Use statements more often instead of questions. Using questions tests the child’s ability to answer while using statements does not oblige him to respond readily. Recall the time when you are studying a foreign language. You don’t want your teacher asking you a lot of questions, right? Because aside from translating his questions in your mind, you are then to formulate your answer and deliver it in the language you are still learning. But when the teacher is just talking in a conversational tone, you feel more comfortable and then you can join in anytime you feel like it.
4. Present the language barely above or just in line of the child’s ability. Start from a complete sentence and gradually reduce it to the length the child can absorb and eventually respond to.
5. Don’t help the child too much for him to develop a sense of independence. Let him do the things that he can do all by himself. Only help him if you feel that he’s having a hard time and he really needs assistance.
A report was written by a child psychologist about a pre-school kid after observing the child inside the class. His diagnosis is that the child is autistic and the parents completely disagree with it. Though he does not talk much at school, he interacts well with his mother and is normal at home. The truth is that he has speech and language problems.
In the report, the psychologist gave suggestions into how the teachers could promote the child’s participation. She observed that the staff interacts with the child without any verbal communication. For example, they give out snacks without engaging the child in a conversation. Whenever the child does not follow direction to join the group at a table, he was picked up by an aide and put on a chair. Whenever he has trouble with other kids, he was just removed from the situation.
What is really needed is that the usual activities which require his interaction with other people be treated as opportunity to teach him the language. A child who does not comply with the instructions may be did not understand the directions given to him. They may therefore be repeated and rephrased until the child understands and give him the least assistance in completing the task.
The major benefit of early schooling is that the child gaining social interaction skills at early age. Whenever he has conflict with other child, what he needs is a supportive mediation by an adult who can guide both of the kids into a verbal interaction and agreement.
There are therefore ways of interacting with young children to help them improve their language, speech and communication skills. The said techniques may be simple but they make take some time and practice to acquire. But once you acquire them, they become your automatic way of helping the children learn things. Adults, specially teachers and parents must consider the child’s interaction styles, study them and formulate ways on how to effectively interact with the child. Children need the support and encouragement of their mentors to be able to learn how to socialize. Socializing is a skill better acquired at an early age and is therefore instilled in children.
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