Characteristics of Young Learners
Young pupils reflect great diversity and, at the same time, share certain common characteristics. Some selected characteristics of learners are likely to be present in many elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. Teaching practices may be influenced by the diversity reflected in classes. In this stage of education the child is hyperactive. He spends a lot of time playing, running and doing other motional activities. He enthusiastically shifts from a certain activity to another without feeling tired. Boys’ activities tend to be more violent than girls’ activities, because boys usually depend on their muscles more than girls do. Girls tend to use simpler and safer toys and participate in less violent games.
Physical Activity Growth:
In the elementary stage of education a pupil engages himself in many physical activities. He spends his time practice outdoor physical activities such as scouting, cycling, camping, tree climbing and other energetic risky activities.
A child’s mastery of vocabulary increases so does his fluency. He becomes more aware of the proper use of expressions and understands grammatical usage through practice in his daily life. A child in this stage is to describe what he sees and to express his ideas. He likes to read much, especially about plants, animals, children of other nations, agricultural crops, boats, ships and means of transport (i.e. cars, trains and planes) He cherishes the tendency to read about travels, journeys, adventures and acts of heroism. A child is also able to recognize logical linguistic relations and distinguish between meanings.
In this stage a child is more able to express his feelings in words rather than motion expressions. Since he enjoys personal freedom, his emotions are usually pleasurable and quiet. Sometimes he feels frustrated and could not achieve his needs or wishes because of his classmates’ jealousy, anger and competition.
A child usually tends to play with his school fellows or with groups. This is usually an output for different hidden emotions. He likes to play games that need mental thinking such as assembling and disassembling toys. Flattery and encouragement positively affect him. He enjoys others’ love and affection and cherishes personal sense of success. In this stage of study a child weeps less and laughs more and enjoys humor and merry -making. He understands jokes and likes to mimic others and cleverly imitates their behaviour. Reward and punishment - but not physical punishment - affects him. When a child is about 10 years old he develops a liking for thing acquisition, ownership and collection such as stamps, shells and trees leaves. He learns a lot about them.
At the end of this stage, he tends to join small groups in which they enjoy playing together. They cooperate and participate in joint activities. However, these gatherings rarely last for a long time. Children’s tendency to group has its merits. Some behavioural characteristics become evident. We can notice different tendencies to leadership, subordination, cooperation, competition jealousy or solitude. That is why primary schools take interest in forming school groups to practice different activities. Sportive teams and scouts are good examples. Encouraging pupils to perform collective tasks and carry out joint projects is an effective method of teaching. Through imitation, assimilation and personification a child usually acquires different methods of behaviour.
This emphasizes teachers’ role in forming children’s customs and social behaviour such as principles of justice , benevolence, impartiality, anti fanaticism, perseverance, discipline, equality, righteousness and duty.
Some Educational Applications:
1. A child should be accustomed to discipline and good distribution of time on play and work in this early stage. He should have the ample chance to move freely and participate in free activities in a social atmosphere void of undue restrictions but not breaking rules and regulations.
2. Subjects of study in this stage should suit the pupils’ standard and learning capability. Proper methods of teaching should be applied to enhance the pupils’ ability to assimilate and understand what they study and foster in them the love for learning.
3. Education in this stage should be based on the method of learning by doing. Theoretical information should be acquired through practice. Pupils could be educated through collective projects in which they cooperate to attain common objectives