By Suseela Santhosh
A classroom is a place for learning, growth, and development. Any classroom, be it an online or offline mode of teaching consists of many individuals in the form of students. Every child is unique in his/her ways and can possess unique qualities, different talents, and skills, different mindsets or behavior, and personalities. Students can make a classroom a very complex place with their individual needs. Since every learner develops and learns at a different pace, individual attention for students is required. Over the years, the benefits of individual attention have become noticeable leading to smaller classrooms making it easier for teachers to help students attain their optimum potential.
What is individual attention?
Individual attention aims to bridge the gap between the learning pace of different students in the classroom. It can prevent the feeling of isolation in children who are slow learners or face challenges learning difficult concepts. Students who receive individual attention form a strong academic foundation in their initial formative years.
Every student that is present in the classroom comes with curiosity and enthusiasm. The teacher must support and empower the students to become aware of their talent and abilities and also guide them where there is a need for improvement. This can only be possible by paying personal attention to students.
Teachers need to focus on having a collaborative plan of teaching and learning, that can be customized as per the different needs of the students.
Here are 5 reasons why individual attention is important for students:
Individual attention can minimise distraction and boost focus
Over the years, it has been found that children’s attention span has drastically reduced because of over-exposure to the availability of information, the absence of offline classes due to Covid-19, and constant pressure on children. Children are widely exposed to a lot of distractions. Unlike in previous years, today’s students do not have confined knowledge. They have access to a lot of information, so they choose whatever interest suits them based on their priorities. If the classroom strength is big, every child cannot be monitored by the teacher. With a smaller classroom, a child can grab the teacher’s attention with more ease. This helps the child to completely focus and increase his/her attention span. This has a positive impact on a child’s interest in learning. Once a student can concentrate, it leaves little place for them to get distracted.
Individual attention can help identify talent
Learning happens beyond textbooks, for not all students are academic rank holders. Some may excel at extracurriculars such as sports and art. These talents can be identified with personal attention. With close interaction and an observant eye, teachers can identify the creative talents and qualities of a student and help nurture them with proper guidance.
Individual attention helps students with learning problems
Personal attention creates a good bond between a child facing challenges in learning and a teacher. With the help of personal attention, the teacher can identify the learning problem of students where there are gaps. According to the multiple intelligences theory by Dr. Howard Gardner, only linguistic and mathematical skills cannot define a person’s intelligence. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposed eight different skill sets that better grasp the full scope of a child’s abilities. As per the theory, children have different learning styles- auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or verbal. Gardner’s learning styles can lead to more effective teaching strategies because the approach is better at reaching children with disabilities. It helps them grasp the concepts taught in the classroom and freely ask questions to the teacher. By discovering the intellectual gifts of a child, teachers can find ways to work with their existing strengths and help them academically.
Individual attention can spark curiosity and create interest
Students can achieve a lot if their needs are catered to and heard in the classroom. One set of instructions and teaching style may not provide an equal learning opportunity for children. It may even lead to disinterest and create negativity to learn. If a child is taught according to his/her learning style, it will help them develop a love for learning and sustain their interest.
When a child gets personalized attention, at the pace and level he/she understands, it develops an interest in the field. Concepts start getting simpler and the child’s creativity is sparked. As it is often said, “There are no bad subjects, only bad teachers”. The concept of personalized attention only tries to resolve this issue.
Individual attention promotes a healthy classroom environment
When a teacher gives a student individual attention, the child has an emotional connection with the teacher. Learning requires a safe and positive atmosphere. With individual attention, teachers can identify a child’s behavior, emotions, and physical challenges. Identifying these aspects will help nurture the overall classroom environment. Whether it is having a proper seating arrangement or pairing up students during assignments, these small steps go a long way toward academic success. The creativity of a classroom is honed with class participation and involving every child in the classroom in the discussion. This is only possible if each child feels safe and protected in expressing their feelings, ideas, and concepts, without the fear of ridicule. Such an environment can only be possible in small classroom settings where the environment is result oriented and the teacher can individually focus on each child and their concerns.
Catering to a child’s needs every day in any important way or any challenge they face is fundamental no matter the classroom size. Having a different perspective can help students learn and perform better in class. Giving them positive feedback and support can help them face their challenges more effectively. There are significant studies that support the impact of individual attention on both academic performance and the child’s natural curiosity and comfort in school.
The author is director at Vishwa Vidyapeeth Group of Schools.