News flash: Holiday and Christmas break are over. It’s back to school.
Subheading: The students are still on a holiday hang-over. (And so are you.)
Well, there isn’t much left to do but accept that the children are coming in the classrooms with their minds still wandering off. But can you blame them? It is really hard to say goodbye to free time, playing, and lazing around. In fact, if you’ll be honest with yourself, you are having it as a bitter pill to swallow too. So, by all means, empathize with the children.
The holidays have given our children the abundance of time to indulge themselves in fun and activities of their own preference. They get comfortable after being accustomed to staying involved in those activities. Now, breaking them out of their preferred daily cycle and comfort zone is a tough ask. But you have to deal with it.
For starters, let’s work with getting their attentions.
All learning starts as information perceived by the five senses: vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Remember that although there are millions of sensory nerve endings throughout the skin, muscles and internal organs; the brain is only able to process about 1% of this information and it gives priority to certain things. Hence, a little trick on brain imaging goes a long way.
Sensory information that gets priority is that which helps mammals survive. Therefore, the unexpected information is what gets our attention first. Give the children some sensory information about change and novelty. Make them excited about coming back to school.
Start working from the bottom up
Start by setting some short goals. Re-introduce subjects and activities in which a child would willingly show interest. Relate the topics to their previous break activities; likely, games, food or even the holiday colours. Bring their hearts a little back to the holiday and Christmas break.
Give each child sufficient time and opportunities to share their personal experiences. You can spread this activity within the first week breaker. Be a good listener and pay attention to what a student did, saw or learnt during the holiday and Christmas break. Take tips and apply them to enhance the children’s performances.
Try to integrate and mix two or more different subject types or study materials to give a new outlook and understanding of the subjects involved.
Charts, Collages, Posters
Let the children use charts, collages and pin-ups as tools to express their experiences during the holidays. Children feel encouraged and confident when their work is being recognised and appreciated. This would further motivate them to indulge in useful and interesting activities whenever they have long breaks.
Share some control and power
Children were mostly in control of their time during the holiday and Christmas break. Now, there is nothing sweeter for students than being empowered by a teacher to control other students. By allowing them to take ownership, students get more desire to be empowered for the next time and it can be a perfect encouragement for them to study better and confirm their aptness.
Relate to Students’ Lives
Children and teenagers are tired of the common examples in the text books. If not, they are bored with it. It is not enough competition to the digital era. It becomes more interesting to remember a bright example from our everyday life than remember everything written in the book. Memorable events stick in our mind for a longer period of time and that is the main reason why a good example from life can be much more productive than thousands of learned by heart rules.
Every one is still having that hang-over; even you. When all else fails, charge it to the holiday and Christmas break. Be kind to the children. Be kind to yourself.