I would like give an instance to talk about this topic. Before that, let me brief about the situation. I pursue B.Sc.Ed course in Regional Institute of Education, Mysuru. As a part of my internship, I worked as a student teacher in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV), Thrissur in Kerala for few days.
As the routine of all JNVs, the regular classes are between 7.30 am and 1.30 pm and the remedial classes are between 2.45 pm and 4 pm. The students of class 6 were quite new to JNV environment and it was slightly difficult for them to sit in class between 2.45 pm and 4 pm after attending all the classes in the morning. I taught Maths and Science to students of class 6, 8 and 9. I used to engage class for class 6 students in remedial hour. I didn’t know Malayalam (as I belong to different state) and so I taught them in English, but the students struggled a bit to understand English, consequently, my lessons.
So this day, I was teaching them about changes in our surroundings, particularly, the process of evaporation. But it seemed that the children were busy in their own world, no matter how many interesting examples I gave. Some seemed sleepy, some were talking and some were quarreling. So, naturally, I found it hard to grasp the attention of students.
I saw two girls quarreling for a sketch pen, one holding it in hand with its cap open. I gazed at them for a while, until they started complaining about each other to me. I had to divert their minds and make them concentrate on the lesson. Had I used the technique of ‘object removal’ to regain their attention, I might have got their attention, but there were chances that they would be still thinking about the sketch pen. It then flashed to my mind that I can link that sketch pen to my lesson, that is, evaporation. So I took the sketch pen from the girl and by this time, all the other students were eager to know what I was going to do to those girls. But I just asked the children to look at the sketch pen without the cap. With all their eyes converged on the sketch pen, I asked them to tell what happens to the pen, if it is kept open for a long time without the cap. The children stated the obvious that the ink dries off and the pen would stop writing. I then asked them to explain the reason behind it and gradually linked it to the process of evaporation. All that time, the children were focused and their participation was more. At the end, not they explained the process of evaporation, but also gave lot many examples to it.
By this instance, what I want to convey is daily-life examples, concreteness of the examples you give the children play a major role in learning. The activities you make the children do are crucial too. There is a Chinese proverb which says, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” So, more the concreteness of learning experiences better is the learning.