I used to be astonished by the fact that Japanese kindergarten teachers should have a higher degree than teachers of higher level or even a Lecturer. But now, since i’ve experienced the pain of teaching young children, we’re on the same page. Teaching literacy (reading and writing) to young children is a relentless taskmaster. It’s way harder than translating my doctoral candidate’s student’s dissertation (sounds like I’m a professor, haha). And even harder When the language we teach isn’t their mother tongue. It has a power of making you burst of laughter, boiling your anger, and triggering your hunger. All the unmanageable emotion you can find in the dictionary.
Why is it hard?
I just acknowledged the answer after scrolling Ted Hirsch article titled “Teaching Kids to Read”. The answer is simply because literacy is not gained naturally. Most of babies can talk at less than 18 months old. Even my Kanza started to mutter some words before she reached a year. She is 21 months now and we are chatting like bff. Likewise, one can listen way earlier, they listen and learn while in mommy’s womb. Indeed, the language instinct human has is for spoken, not written language. So, you got enough reason to bear the pain in teaching literacy teachers.
Well, Hirsch gives a brief list of the teaching metods that would be best to be followed:
TEACH INCREMENTALLY : adding information and expecting further skills only when previously taught information utilized by the student.
TEACH CLEARLY: “speak in their language”. Teachers must be sure that students get what they are trying to impart and at the end the students are able to explain what they’ve learned.
TEACH CONSISTENTLY: teachers need to talk to students in ways do not invalidate or contraduct what they have previously taught.
COMPREHENSIVELY UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE: encourage the student to think analytically about oral language, printed language, and the interrelationship between them.
KNOW YOUR STUDENTS: every child is unique therefore teachers should treat them as an individual. This last method is indeed very useful not only for teaching literacy but for any aspects of teaching and life. Stop expecting and comparing.
Happy teaching, Teachers! ^^