DAY 1: Alternative Teaching Experience

Welcome back!

Following on from my last post (with context and descriptions for the children) …


This first session was to get to know the children more. What are they interested in? Who are they really? What do they need help with? What are their strengths/weaknesses? 

Honestly, I did have unrealistic expectations coming in. I began by thinking, I’m going to make this learning thing so good, I’ll be motivating N and K in no time! 

Note to self: Patience, my friend. Hard work takes time. And *spoiler alert*, by the end, we saw significant positive changes in the children! 


I ended up discovering a lot about N and K as described here. Also, I noticed that K didn’t like making mistakes, and would wait for me to prompt her towards an answer, instead of taking a guess.

Personalised Teaching Strategies for N and K

1.  As soon as I saw K getting restless, we stopped whatever activity she was doing and I got her to move around and shake it out. Honestly, I joined in and (maybe the latter shake-outs were for me).

2. For N, when he got restless I saw that he resorted to cutting pencils up with scissors. I didn’t take them away from them, because the source of the problem wasn’t the scissors, it was the fidgeting. In his room he had a guitar, so I encouraged him to play a song for me instead. VOILA! He stopped fidgeting, played a song (and 3 more) and then we resumed!

3. Spaced repetition – I was helping K to spell, and somehow the word ‘monkey’ came up. Instead of teaching her the right spelling and leaving it at that, I brought up the word 30 minutes later to transition this word from short term to long term memory. 

4. With purpose driven kids like N (see will drivers), use relevant examples of WHY the learning materials apply to their normal life. Earlier that day, N was searching for an activation code for his xbox and was scouring his mum’s emails to find it. Later that day we were working on his spelling. He didn’t see the point in focusing on it. SO … I said “Say like this morning, you want to find the code but you don’t know where it is. You could send an email to the company and find it that way. But you have to write it so they actually understand what you mean”.  

Ways I could Improve:

Praise the process, not the outcome. When K would read something to me, I’d say ‘great!’, ‘fantastic!’ when she got a hard word correct. But as Carol Dweck emphasises, praise the hard work instead; ie ‘awesome, you worked really hard to get there!’.

Goals Looking Forward

1. Get N and K EXCITED to learn or to ask me if they could do more work (lofty goal, I know)

2. To not associate their work as a ‘chore’, or ‘boring’.  


Many more revelations to come, see you in Day 2!


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