Making the Most of Basic Educational Aids
We’re increasingly relying on technology to teach children. But because technology won’t ever replace great teaching, basic educational aids still have a role to play.
This is because educational aids (such as books, toys or equipment that require some hands-on interaction) create a visual, auditory or interactive experience for children who are learning new things, delivering learning objectives in a way that is highly engaging.
This engagement increases the likelihood that the topic being taught is going to be understood…which is precisely why it’s important that teachers and parents know how to make the most out of the educational aids they’ve invested in!
So, if you’ve stocked up on educational aids for the early years education (perhaps from a supplier like this one, here), or aids for primary or secondary level education, here’s how you can use them to their full potential:
1. Make sure that teaching aids are large enough, bright enough or in high enough supply that they can be seen or used by every student who needs them.
If you’re using educational aids in a classroom setting, they need to be accessible to every pupil in the room.
2. Make sure that you’re only using educational aids if they’re meaningful and serve a useful purpose.
While it might sound like an obvious thing to point out, a basic aid is of little use if it doesn’t correlate to the subject being taught. So, it’s important to ask “in what way does this link to what I’m trying to teach, and is it the most appropriate aid I could use?”. Teaching aids are most effective when there’s a direct link between their use and the lesson being taught, and it’s also very important to bear in mind that an aid needs to be educational, not just entertaining.
3. Consider that some aids will suit some learning styles better than others.
We all learn in different ways, so if you’re going to make the most of your aids, you need to make sure you’ve accounted for the fact that some aids are going to be more impactful depending on the needs of each child. For kinesthetic learners, make sure children have the option of using aids that require hands-on interaction, such as construction toys, props, and outfits. Visual learners, on the other hand, will fare best if they can use materials to create a display or a piece of art for instance, or watch a video. And be sure to have an audio aid (such as a set of headphones, a podcast or a piece of music) to assist learners who learn best through hearing.
4. Remember that educational aids are only there to supplement the teaching process.
Aids are incredibly useful for delivering and reinforcing particular learning points, but ultimately, they cannot replace a teacher. The best use of an aid is one where it’s incorporated into a wider lesson plan and is just one aspect of delivering a learning objective. For example, aids are used most effectively if they supplement verbal instructions and help to give clarity to a concept or idea.
Bethany is a freelance writer passionate about providing unique and engaging content to readers. Bethany has gained a lot of experience writing for a range of online publications and researching early years education.