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September 25, 2013

Interview: Advice for the Teacher

by Angel Pumila

Interview: Advice for the Teacher

Patricia Mezu is an associate collaborator in the Middle East with KDSL.  She has spent her career teaching others about the best and most effective practices in early childhood education both in and out of the classroom. In doing so, Patricia is aware of the wide variety of obstacles that teachers encounter on a daily basis.  These issues span from student childhood disorders and  curriculum adaptations to performance pressures from school management officials.

As more and more children are diagnosed with attention deficits, teachers must be prepared to meet the different needs of these children. Mezu says that there are numerous tools teachers can use to keep a child’s attention, including sustained eye contact when communicating, a gentle touch on the shoulder to gain attention, multifaceted planning (incorporating visual, audio and tactile learning techniques), short and focused learning activities, and activities that incorporate the use of gross motor skills, to name a few.

 Mezu recommends that teachers adapt the curriculum to suit the individual requirements of each child when working with a group of children who may be at different levels of comprehension. “Sustained observation and planning on an individual basis for each pupil are the best ways to meet the needs of a group of children,” she said. “Working with pupils in groups based on their abilities and having teaching tools and activities within the classroom that cater to different abilities ensure that pupils are able to be challenged when/if required.”

Teachers sometimes experience pressure from school officials with regard to student performance because of a lack of awareness of what the curriculum requires, Mezu explains. “In the Middle East, equating and imposing Western values in non-Western settings can also become a problem.” Her advice for teachers is “preparation, preparation, preparation. Remain in touch with best practices, stay teachable, have a forum that you can tap into to keep yourself on track and to air any problems, and link up with a good mentor.”

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