As an individual who imparts knowledge and education, your chief responsibility as a teacher is to make the little ones learn, develop, and grow mentally. This is imperative in their formative years if they are to become capable and productive social citizens going forward. Your teaching will play a very important role in shaping their personalities. Not to mention the equally significant factor of your students imbibing knowledge and getting equipped with the right life skills.
Instructional materials about K-12 content play a significant role in helping the child learn and develop mentally. This applies to classroom training where you are physically present before your student, or conducting a virtual setting. Pictorial, colorful instructional materials, along with regular textbooks and workbooks, ensure the child is fully engaged and finds all the learning topics interesting enough.
You could just state facts verbally or write a few lines on the blackboard or whiteboard as part of your teaching technique. Or, you could use colorful teaching aids and instructional materials that are interactive and fun. Certainly, the latter is more useful in explaining basic principles and teaching the young ones their subjects.
In this blog, we will discuss in some detail the use of instructional materials for K12 content. We will also assess their importance and benefits in the life of your pupils.
Types of Instructional Materials
Fortunately, creative teachers across the length and breadth of our country have come up with numerous instructional materials. These serve as teaching aids and help change the K12 educational content from drab and boring to fun and mentally fascinating. Always appealing to the interests of the little ones, this teaching sometimes aids and also mentally stimulates and challenges the students, particularly in higher grades.
Some broad categories of instruction materials are:
- Books - Based on subject fundamentals, differentiated instructions, student activities, skills practice
- Reference books - Includes maps, research and discovery, atlas, vocabulary builders
- Workbooks: Supplementing with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum
- Practice sets - Exercises based on mathematics, science, grammar, writing, and reading and language skills
Electronics, Technology, and Media Devices
- Binoculars and telescopes
- Audiovisual media
- CD and cassette players
Visualizations and Graphics
- Graphic Organizers: Graphs, diagrams, flow charts, tables, and visual explanations of statistics
- Infographics: Text-based or image-based infographics explaining breaking down concepts, statistics
Games and Interactive Resources
- Puzzles and brainteasers
Broadly speaking, you could have audio or visual teaching aids as instructional materials to use in your regular classes. Or, these could be a combination of audiovisual cues and material. Sometimes, pictorial material that is attractively drawn and painted helps with object recognition in the initial stages of education, for instance, in kindergarten through first and second grades. Of course, when you combine pictorial instructional material with audiovisual cues, the child learns not only the object’s name, but also its spelling and correct pronunciation.
Then, there are the more interactive quizzes and games that act as excellent instructional materials as well. In fact, kids have such fun playing with these that retention of content and information becomes very easy. These games are also competitive in nature, and thereby naturally motivate the young pupils to do their best. In the process, they end up learning more thoroughly.
Advantages of Instruction Materials
But how exactly are such instructional materials more advantageous than regular teaching?
Regular blackboard or whiteboard teaching easily becomes monotonous for the child after a period of time. Listening to teachers drone on about various topics for 5 to 6 hours every day can become tedious for the most patient of us adults. Needless to say, children have relatively smaller attention spans.
Instructional materials are used in classes because of the following advantages they provide:
- They take away some of the monotony in the class & offer content that makes students sit up and take notice
- They arouse curiosity and make the child want to know and learn more.
- They are more interactive and engage students in a fun language they understand.
- The bright colors and quirky background music (in the case of audiovisual content) make the topics appealing to watch and listen to.
- There are also quizzes, charts, and presentations that do their job for higher grades. Again, these are all unique, interesting ways of imparting education and providing information than merely using a whiteboard.
When teachers use such teaching aids as instructional materials, they essentially add a lot of quality and raise the fun quotient of their teaching. For students, there are various factors that appeal to their young minds. These are the visual attractiveness of colorful posters, the joy of listening to audiovisual content, and the mental stimulation of completing quizzes and games in a group. All of this makes learning much more fun, effective, and overall less uninteresting and tiresome.
How do Instructional Materials Make Lessons More Mentally Stimulating?
Teachers need to put a little thought and study into what kind of instructional material is apt at which level of K12 content. Very young kids would love drawings and posters in eye-catching colours. But older kids and teenagers would find these immature; they want to have presentations like they occasionally see their parents work with at home. Kids 10 years and older love the challenge of solving puzzles while in the classroom where their friends are competitors.
So, what works with one age group might become altogether redundant or ineffective for another. As mentors of kids of different ages and intellectual levels, school teachers and class tutors should be able to pick the most suitable instructional materials for kids of a particular age.
When you couple your classroom teaching with the right teaching aids, you can greatly increase the effectiveness of your lessons. You can also significantly enhance the interest levels of children in your lessons, as well as your ability to teach them the relevant content successfully.
The right instructional materials for K12 content are a major catalyst in helping young students learn more, learn better, and grasp various educational concepts more quickly and thoroughly. These also help lighten the intellectual burden on students, supporting and enhancing their mental faculties. They take away the dry tedium of the topics and replace them with exciting, interactive, and engaging content. The right kinds of instructional materials also bring out the best in teachers and their method of imparting knowledge.
It is, therefore, important for you as a teacher to use age-appropriate teaching aids as instructional material throughout all K12 curriculum levels.
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Suggested Read: ARPIT-Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching