- Specific strategies need to be adopted to address the needs of a learner.
- A learner-friendly classroom can make learning language more exciting, meaningful, and easy.
- The phonic method can be used to enhance the reading skills of students.
Socio-Economic Status of My Class:
I teach the students of the second standard, and there are twenty students in my class. Most of the students have a single parent, and some are taken care of by their grandparents. The parents of many students are uneducated, and some of them are not even aware as to which class their children study in. It is needless to say that the guardians do not check the homework or the diary work of my students.
I believe that if the parents of my students express their concern about the education of their children and cooperate with the school, their children will definitely be able to achieve success in their life.
Addressing the Needs of Learners:
As a teacher, I observe the various needs of my students, and I employ specific strategies to address such needs. I will share some of the issues that I have faced in my class and the strategies I adopted to address them in the following paragraphs.
Classroom Issue 1
Often while taking a class, I noticed that the attentiveness of my students was quite poor. The students were seldom able to answer when I posed a question in the class,. I felt that my students lacked involvement in the classroom, and they seemed to be disinterested in the things that were being taught in class.
Initially while teaching these students, I used to simply write down words from a lesson on a chart and paste it on the wall, without supplementing the words with pictures. I expected my students to read the words from the chart and learn them. Of course, I referred to these charts while dealing with the lessons. However, this strategy did not prove fruitful as the students were least interested in reading the words from the chart. This made me realize that I needed to adopt new strategies that would not only help the students to get involved in the subject and pick up language from the lessons, but it would also enhance my own teaching abilities.
Strategy Adopted—Concept-Oriented Wall Decoration:
The new strategy that I adopted involved decorating the walls of the classroom with pictures of the different characters as well as depictions of various scenes from the textbook lessons (both prose and poems). Words related to the pictures were pasted along with them.
I taught the lessons by pointing to the characters or the scenes that were pasted on the walls and related them to the text.
The introduction of a visual aid, i.e. pictures, made the students excited, and they began to show more interest in what was being taught. The students also participated actively in the different activities and were able to pick up new words from the lessons. The supplementation of the words with pictures ensured that the students were able to have a mental picture of the words, which helped them to remember their meanings. Gradually, I started introducing more words—two-letter words, three-letter words, question words, auxiliary verbs, etc.—supplementing them with pictures. The students saw these words on the wall every day, and slowly they became familiar with them. I was also able to teach them to make small sentences using these words.
Thus, the strategy of concept-oriented wall decoration made learning the language more exciting, meaningful, and easy.
Classroom Issue 2
The concept wall had its limitations. It did not cover all the words, and some students still faced difficulty in reading. So, I thought that if the students could learn the pronunciation of each letter in Tamil, they might be able to connect the letters and read a word.
I realized that the students faced some difficulty in identifying the sounds that were related to particular alphabets, which hindered their reading ability. It was not possible for them to connect the letters and read a word without knowing the pronunciation of a particular letter in a word.
Strategy Adopted—Phonic Method:
I came across an alternative method—phonic method—of teaching the sounds of the alphabets when I was attending an exhibition in another school. I decided to adopt that method in my class to help my students.
I made different charts with vowels and consonants written on them. The students were required to practice the sounds corresponding to the alphabets. Most consonants had two sounds—one occurred at the beginning of a word, and the other occurred at the end of a word. Particular alphabets and their corresponding sounds were written on the charts, and a list of words where it occurred was presented along with it. For example: ‘a’- bag, hat, rag, cat, etc., ‘e’ - pen, wet, hen, net, etc. Combinations of sounds and letters were also taken, and similar charts were made. For example, ‘ab’ - cab, dab, tab, etc. The new and difficult words from every lesson were written on charts and pasted on the wall. The students practiced the phonetic sounds and the pronunciation of the words every day, and they followed this routine even when the teacher was not there in the class.
The employment of the phonic method brought about a tremendous change in the learning abilities of my students. They were able to read words easily to the extent that are now able to read the words in the textbook on their own.
Teacher: S Sunganthi |Primary-School Teacher |GPS Nettapakkam | Zone 4, Puducherry