By Prachi Sinha
When I came to Utah, I had a very clear objective in my mind – to learn as much as possible and take it back to India. I really wished hard to become a part of the NACD staff. However, I now wish differently. I don’t want to be a staff member any more; I wish to be kid on the program. Don’t worry, I am still continuing my training but there are no taxes on wishing things. What brought about such a desire to be a child on the program was the fact that NACD can make learning fun and the specific activity that brought about this change is called the FUN UNITS. Well, as the name suggests, fun units are fun and work at the same time.I was a very curious child and I loved everything around me. Now when I look back to my school years, I realize how important intensity is and how a regular classroom situation can steal the intensity from the most intriguing subjects. I love ruins and historical monuments, but I hated my history lessons. I love all geographical elements, but I hated geography. The pressure to perform never let me enjoy what was before me, even though I was curious about it. If rarely, one of my teachers was able to capture the essence of the subject and make it interesting, I was left thirsty for more knowledge because the curriculum did not want me to know more. This all made me feel cheated.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a wonderful school. Our teachers were motivated enough to come up with different ways to reinforce information. Slide shows, videos, movies, excursions, discussions, debates, and book reviews were some of the different ways. I learnt more from these methods than from the regular classroom situation. The lesson that I remember most distinctly was a geography lesson in which my teacher took all of us out to the grounds to teach us how a tornado was created. All of us students either represented a warm air current or a cold air current and it just involved running around in circles, but it stayed with me. My most valuable history lesson was the one that I had on a vacation to Agra when I visited the Taj Mahal. It was not only a lesson in history but also a lesson in architecture for me.
So what I am rambling about is that, a well-learnt lesson doesn’t necessarily have to be where you sit straight in a chair staring up at the teacher. A well-learnt lesson doesn’t necessarily have to be at school either. The Fun Units allow you to make any lesson fun and full of creativity. They allow you to present information regarding any subject in a way that the child becomes an active participant and is not just a passive listener. The child can learn as much as he/she wants to and not be restricted by curriculum. Do it any time of the day in any way you want or better – in any way the child wants.
Want your child to learn about history? A weekend trip to a monument or a museum full of artifacts does the trick. Read different books, articles from the internet, discuss, watch videos and enjoy. Help your child create pretty scrapbooks, models, projects and just go crazy. Put all the information about the unit before your child and see him/her absorb it all like a sponge. You will never feel more satisfied than seeing your child learn and grow.
I really wish I were a kid with fun units on my program.