Teaching children category:

You are likely at least 20 years older than the children you teach.

How can you talk in a language that they understand? When you try to teach a difficult concept by using an illustration, what word picture can you use that they can relate to?

If you try to think back to the time when you were their age, it is unlikely that you have any common experiences with what children go through nowadays. It will inevitably sound like the cliche “When I was your age, I use to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and walk 10 miles to school in the snow.” Duh, the children now do not have to milk the cow and feed the hen before they go to school.

A good way to find common ground with children is to watch after school TV, including the commercials. You will see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Children are getting their worldview from what they see and hear on TV. You will see where they learned to talk the way they do, where they learned certain habits, where they learned what to wear, and where they learned their values.

Let me warn you. Don’t start to enjoy those shows too much! You are suppose to be watching them critically, so you can discuss it with the children to steer them accordingly. Remember, children are the target audience for these shows and commercials. Are they appropriate for their age? Should children be watching shows with humor about dieting and how they look in clothes?

You can use characters and plots from the shows as examples to relate to lessons you are teaching. It will be illustrations that your class can relate to. You can also use these shows to lead children to think critically about what they are watching. Give them homework to critique certain popular shows that they watch. Show ads and ask the children how advertisers make their products attractive. Be sure you lead the children in their thinking and not simply condemning the shows. In this way, they begin to be less passive about what goes into their brains.

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