Common problems in teaching primary school
What are the problems in teaching primary school nowadays? How can we understand them better? A teacher in the modern world is no longer just ‘a person who teaches’. As the world develops, more and more are expected from our educators. And with this expectation come challenges. In this article, we would seek to understand more these challenges.
The importance of primary level learning
Before I begin, let’s take a second to ask:
Why primary school?
Primary school is where children first explore the world using reasons. By interacting with the world, a child accepts a piece of learnt information without further questions (also known as naïve reasoning). Therefore, without knowing, the way children learn in primary school can have a huge impact on their thinking later on.
This is true even when we are adults! We might not remember the first lessons we ever learned in primary school, but it still influences our thinking.
And that’s why primary school education has a unique importance. Thus, understanding the common problems in teaching primary school can help us find the right solution. Let’s get started!
Common problems experienced in teaching primary school
The most meaningful part of being a teacher is definitely to inspire learning in the students. However, even with such passions, a lesson in a primary school is not always perfect. So, where could it go wrong?
Through explaining these common problems in teaching primary school, I hope it could help you better understand the teaching of this very special group of students:
1. Tailor teaching match every student’s abilities
Every child is different: each of them behaves and learns in a different way from one another. When being grouped together in a class, they will react differently to the same teaching materials. This naturally means having to change the lesson just a little bit to meet every child’s abilities. This simple solution, however, is much easier said than done.
First of all, how can teachers ensure that they are able to track all different styles of learning during every class session? And once tracked, what can be done to match the material to every child’s style of learning?
Lack of personalization is a rather common problem in teaching primary level. However, there is yet to be a perfect recipe to effectively teach a diverse class. For now, the teacher simply has to put on the lab coat of an experimenter and try out different methods. One thing research has pointed out for sure is that an effective teacher always combines multiple methods to meet most of their students’ learning needs.
In recent years, more and more educators have found a solution in their alliance with technology in the classroom. It is perhaps not too optimistic to suggest that technology is the next step to optimizing every learning need!
Visual aids in Primary Education:
from understanding to applying
A 37-page eBook for primary teachers including:
- How to better understand primary students' learning
- Tips to choosing the right teaching aids
- Ultimate guide to design effective visual aids for teaching
2. Manage a chaotic classroom
It is widely agreed amongst teachers that to maintain discipline while teaching a primary class can be tough.
But this is, nevertheless, an important factor to ensure a productive learning session. An effective teaching method always tries to minimize the time spent on disciplinary issues. Meanwhile, failure to quickly resolve these issues and maintain an organized classroom can easily lead to chaos and anarchy.
OK, maybe anarchy is a bit of stretch. It is still, however, a waste of valuable time that could be otherwise spent on providing children’s meaningful lessons.
One way of keeping order in the classroom could be trying to understand why a child behaves in a certain (potentially disruptive) way? By understand the children’s motifs, effective and flexible class-managing methods can be created to use in the classroom.
Another is keeping the lesson interesting and engaging enough so the student does not even think about being distracting or disruptive. This is understandably a challenging task in itself. That coincidentally takes us to the next problem in this article:
3. Engage students during teaching complicated and abstract subjects
Another common problem in teaching primary school is engaging students in more complicated or supposedly ‘dryer’ subjects.
For anyone who is already a big fan of science-based subjects (just as I am), it can quite difficult to see why anyone would not love them. But it is one thing to love a subject and another to break it down enough for others to be interested in. Especially when ‘others’ here referred to a group of students who is yet familiar with logical or abstract reasoning.
However, the benefits of engaging primary students in supposedly ‘dryer’ subjects (such as mathematics, science or literature) are enormous. It is through these dryer subjects that children develop their reasoning abilities.
But how to explain these key benefits to the students without them falling asleep? Here is an example of using animation and characters to make maths more interesting and relatable to students!
Perhaps by using what children like and use that to your teaching advantage. This means putting effort into knowing what appeals to children at that age. This also means breaking down knowledge into a concrete, simple and relatable format. For example, in many classes, teachers use educational animation as a tool to attract young learners into the lessons.
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4. Adapt to the constant change in the field
There is always something new in education: a new teaching method, a slight change in the program or a small twig in exams. This puts pressure on the teachers to always know what to do. The problem here caused by ignoring the fact that education is constantly changing and teachers are constantly lacking time. Don’t worry! The vast development of technology is on your side. With the increasing attention being paid to education, it has become more exciting to at this time and age to be a teacher. With more and more innovative ideas being offered to help solve the common problems in teaching primary school. Teaching will now be more than ever about effective information delivery that inspires learning.
Changes require adaptation. And it is true that the adjustment process will take a little bit of time, effort, some minor confusion and frustration. But once you get into the groove of things, it is amazing how much technology can help your teaching in many meaningful ways.
Tip: Although there is no one solution fits all, https://www.teacherspayteachers.comis a great website for teachers to share and offer helpful solutions that worth a quick check-out!
Above are only a few of the common problems in teaching primary school that a teacher must face. However, I believe this to be amongst the ones that, if resolved, can have a powerful impact on the quality of teaching in the classroom. To quickly sum up, these problems are:
- Having to tailor lessons to fit the needs of every child
- Knowing how to effectively deliver ‘dry’ or complicated subject
- Managing a chaotic classroom to ensure the highest quality during the lesson
- Adapting to the constant changes and demands of the field
Hopefully, the article has given you some insights into the problems in the classroom and perhaps inspire some creative solutions that you can use in your own class!
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