Many benefits of hands-on teaching

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 4, 2018

Schoolwork can be particularly hard to concentrate on – especially for young children. Kids will be kids, whether they’re sitting behind a desk or riding their bikes down a grassy hill. Staring at a board or book is often challenging for children who would rather be playing – that’s why approaching teaching with a hands-on approach is one of the best ways children can learn.

Pearl River County School District staff recently attended development training with a professional coordinator who taught them how to use hands-on games to teach math. These activities used video game design concepts to illustrate how to solve mathematical equations and calculate ratios. The point was to make the class more engaging while also teaching students important skills they could use later in life.

When I was teaching in Japan last year, I found myself in an environment where I had to teach students a language by only incorporating games and body language. For instance, to teach them the phrase, “I can catch,” I would throw a ball against the wall and catch it, repeating the sentence each time. Then, every once in a while, I would drop the ball on purpose and very dramatically say, “I can’t catch.”

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Every time I went through this skit, the kids would laugh – their eyes fixed on every movement. This level of engagement made it easy to pull students to the front of the class to replicate the process. They had been so focused on what I was doing that as soon as they caught or dropped the ball, they knew exactly what to say to express their actions.

Children are naturally energetic and expressive. Incorporating fun, interactive activities into a classroom setting helps students understand and reproduce what they learn in a memorable way.