2. Primary Years’ Learning & Development
In a class where children vary in their learning abilities and learning style, the teacher at primary years’ program:
- Moderate the learning environment for meeting varied learning needs of the children.
- Focus on what children need to learn or how they will get access to the information.
- Design activities in which children engage to make sense of or acquire the content.
- Allow children to work in different groups — sometimes with children at the same level of readiness or with mixed-readiness groups, with children having similar interests or with children having different interests, with peers who learn as they do, or randomly, and often with the class as a whole.
- Demonstrate equal and appropriate expectations from boys and girls by providing equal attention, respect and equal opportunities.
- Inclusion provides an opportunity to treat children with disabilities equally and focus on their abilities. This empowers them with adequate facilities, infrastructure and personal support.
3. Designing Child friendly Environment
Children are active and curious learners hence, their safety and learning at the center becomes the most challenging task. Designing physical space for children blended with pedagogy and safety may help in the process of learning.
A well-designed physical environment accessible to all children supports exploration, gives young children a sense of belonging and enables them to engage in focused and self-directed play. Good environment also makes parents and caregivers feel welcome and involved.
Given below are some of the important considerations while designing indoor and outdoor physical environments.
- Activity areas, also known as learning centers, are established places in the classroom with resources that actively engage children and they may change according to the themes or topics.
- Classroom adaptations are important as the infrastructure and facilities vary from place to place. Classroom displays are very important in classrooms. Displays may be used to convey a theme being covered in the classroom.
- Outdoor Play Environment are important for setting the outdoor play, maximizing the space, and ensuring safety of children.
Role of a Teacher is to ensure that the activity areas provide opportunities to children for spontaneous, which is child- initiated. The teacher has to arrange the classroom in appealing activity areas as per the available space, interests of children and the themes being covered. It must be ensured that the material in activity areas provide opportunities for exploration, investigation, individual and in group.
4. Pedagogical Approaches for Curriculum Transaction
Primary years’ education programme is transacted in a child-centric manner, adopting a holistic approach that views the child’s learning not limited to what the teacher transacts in the classroom setting, but as being co-created by the children, in the context of their natural and social environment, including home and community. The penetration of technology like computers, video, television, telephones, radio and telecommunications networks have exerted great influence on how we live, work, play and learn.
- Theme-based approach is commonly used by educators across the world. It attempts to tie in various skills and knowledge into a coherent whole. Theme teaching is generally carried out according to a detailed pre-designed lesson plan led by the teachers.
- Play- based approach is used for stimulating materials and activities are made available by the teacher and children self-select activities according to their interest at each point of time and learn at their own pace. Play stimulates curiosity and exploration and leads to mastery of body controls, encourages creativity and social skills and develops emotional balance and language skills.
- Activity- based approach provides opportunities for exploration with different teaching-learning materials. The teacher embeds the learning goals in various indoor/ outdoor, individual/ small group/ whole group activities.
- Project or Inquiry- based approach requires the teachers to offer some open-ended triggers and then observe the children, listen to their stories, their questions, see how they navigate the activity, take note of their interest levels and talk with the children.
- Integrating approaches–All the approaches used in the area of primary years’ education are not mutually exclusive. Our team is free to select one or the combination of suggested approaches in their own context. This leads to a balanced and supportive learning environment for growth and development.
- Language diversity —We believe in inclusive education and support the mother tongue development of the child. The diverse language and dialects of children may be endorsed and expanded by the teachers. The topics should be addressed in a variety of ways like musical, story-based, play, discovery, pictorial, artistic, logical deductive.
(i) Assessment for Learning
Assessment for learning (AfL) is an approach, integrated into teaching and learning, which creates feedback for students and teachers in order to improve learning and guide their next steps.
What does assessment for learning mean?
AfL focuses on both the teacher and student understanding three key things:
- Where the learner is going. Sharing the aims of a lesson and success criteria helps learners to see what they are aiming for and what they need to do to achieve those aims.
- Where the learner is now. Techniques such as effective questioning will help teachers to gauge what individuals and groups have learnt during a lesson, generating evidence of learning that both teacher and students can make use of.
- How can the learner get there? Teachers use this evidence of learning to inform choices about what they will do next with a class or individual students. Learners can use this evidence to make decisions about their learning, such as how to spend their independent study time.
AfL is concerned with maximizing the feedback process (teacher to student and student to teacher) to optimize student learning. Feedback ranges from the informal (e.g. oral comments given immediately to learners as they think through problems), to more formal (e.g. written feedback given after an end-of-topic test).
AfL also involves high-quality peer and self-assessment where learners or peers may be involved in making decisions about future learning needs (Wiliam, 2018).
What other terms are associated with assessment for learning?
Formative assessment has a similar meaning to AfL. The term was introduced to show that assessment could be used to form students’ learning and look forward to what they will learn next.
(ii) Assessment of learning
Assessment of learning assists teachers in using evidence of student learning to assess achievement against outcomes and standards. Sometimes referred to as ‘summative assessment’, it usually occurs at defined key points during a unit of work or at the end of a unit, term or semester, and may be used to rank or grade students. The effectiveness of this for grading or ranking depends on the validity and reliability of activities – and its effectiveness as an opportunity for learning depends on the nature and quality of the feedback.
(iii) Diagnostic assessment
Diagnostic assessment refers to assessment that identifies what the learner knows or is capable of, perhaps at the start of a new topic. The focus is on identifying difficulties or misconceptions that the learner might have so that the teacher can plan learning activities to address these.
❖ Assessment Tools and Techniques
Assessment is conducted by using various tools and techniques:
➢ Anecdotal records
➢ Checklist or Rubric
➢ Rating Scale
➢ Photographs and video clips
❖ Assessment Essential
➢ Assessment is based on qualitative judgments of children’s activities, status of their health, nutrition, physical and social well-being.
➢ Each child is assessed individually through informal and systematic observations of children’s performance and other activities.
➢ Assessment focuses on child’s strengths rather than deficits
➢ The progress of children is recorded for each aspect of development on a continuous basis
➢ Assessment to align with the teaching and learning process.
6. Partnership with Parents and Community
We all know that parents play an important role in the development of their child’s personality. They are their child’s first teachers and have the primary responsibility for the child’s development. Parents and teachers, therefore, must function together as partners to help children learn and grow.
- Engaging Parents as a Resource-Parents with specific talents or skills could make a contribution by using their skills for the benefit of the children.
- Involvement and participation of the Community Members would help in understanding children and their family better. Only if the community is aware, the needs of children can be fulfilled.
- Organized Parent-teacher meetings which could be held once a month or once in every three months, as convenient.
7. Student Lead Conference (SLC)
Student Led Conference:
SLC is a platform for the students to communicate their achievement and experience the internal sense of responsibility for their success. They are well prepared over an extended period to tell the story of their own success and share the learning experiences with the most important people in their life- their parents.
- To encourage positive parental involvement and support, for their child along with the school.
- To encourage students to take responsibility for their learning.
- To give students practice on preparing a presentation as well as developing and delivering a presentation.
- To engage in an in-depth, collaborative inquiry.
Key purposes of SLC
- To explore multiple perspectives.
- To apply previous knowledge and to reflect on their journey through the Primary years’ program.
- To demonstrate how students can take action as a result of their learning.
- To unite the students, teachers, parents in a collaborative experience.
- To provide an opportunity for the parents to assess their ward’s progress.
- To encourage students to accept personal responsibilities for their academic performance.
- To teach students the process of self-evaluation
- Public speaking – Ability to answer questions and improve speaking skills
Parent Teacher Meeting (PTM):
- 2 PTMs are scheduled after every SLC
- Report cards will be issued twice, in an academic year: Semester 1 & Semester 2
- For specific reasons if parents want to meet the Homeroom teacher or vice versa, there is
ESSENTIAL PTM, where appointments are fixed between 1:00 – 4:00 P.M.
We design all our curriculum and assessments with the Cambridge learner attributes in mind. The five attributes are our way of recognizing that students need to develop attitudes and life skills throughout their education, as well as academic skills, in order to be successful at university and in employment.
Through Primary programme, we help children to become:
Confident in working with information and ideas – their own and those of others
Children are confident, secure in their knowledge, unwilling to take things for granted and ready to take intellectual risks. They are keen to explore and evaluate ideas and arguments in a structured, critical and analytical way. They are able to communicate and defend views and opinions as well as respect those of others.
Responsible for themselves, responsive to and respectful of others
Children take ownership of their learning, set targets and insist on intellectual integrity. They are collaborative and supportive. They understand that their actions have impacts on others and on the environment. They appreciate the importance of culture, context and community.
Reflective as learners, developing their ability to learn
Children understand themselves as learners. They are concerned with the processes as well as the products of their learning and develop the awareness and strategies to be lifelong learners.
Innovative and equipped for new and future challenges
Children welcome new challenges and meet them resourcefully, creatively and imaginatively. They are capable of applying their knowledge and understanding to solve new and unfamiliar problems. They can adapt flexibly to new situations requiring new ways of thinking.
Engaged intellectually and socially, ready to make a difference
Children are alive with curiosity, embody a spirit of enquiry and want to dig more deeply. They are keen to learn new skills and are receptive to new ideas. They work well independently but also with others. They are equipped to participate constructively in society and the economy – locally, nationally and globally.