By Henrietta Lucas. Kindergarten Worksheet. Published at Wednesday, October 09th, 2019 - 06:59:59 AM.
Why I’m not crazy about worksheets. I prefer hands-on learning. I think it’s more interesting and is much more appealing for kids of all learning styles. A steady diet of worksheets can be boring and dampen enthusiasm for learning. Young children, especially, learn best through concrete experiences. Worksheets may be too abstract for preschoolers. Worksheets do not teach. They check what kids know. If someone handed me a basic calculus worksheet and said, “Here you go. This will help you learn calculus,” I’d be at a complete loss. Now if I got on the phone and called my twin brother (for whom calculus is simple math), he could talk me through it and I might have a chance of understanding it. Please keep this in mind when handing your child a worksheet. If it’s a new skill, sit right there and coach him through it.
“In any group of young children asked to do a paper-pencil task, some will succeed and some will be less successful. The successful children may truly comprehend the task or may simply have guessed correctly. The less successful ones often learn to think of themselves as failures, and ultimately may give up on school and on themselves These children may react to the stress created by fear of giving the wrong answers by acting out their frustrations and becoming behavior problems, or by withdrawing and becoming reclusive.”
Worksheets can be a cop-out. Sound a little harsh? My opinion is that teachers and homeschooling who rely on worksheets are choosing not to find ways to really challenge and interest their kids. It’s the easy way out. Worksheets might not allow higher level thinking. Most worksheets have just one right answer, or one way to complete them. If we consistently keep our kids inside a box, they won’t be able to stretch. Teachers who use worksheets may not be teaching what their students are ready to learn. It really, really makes me cringe when a teacher or homeschooling parent has an entire year’s worth of worksheets printed and ready to go before the school year starts. (And yes, I’m including pre-printed workbooks here.) How do you know that’s what your child will need to learn? Maybe your first grader struggles with addition in August. But she could have a firm grasp on it by December. Are you still going to give her all those pre-printed worksheets or have her complete every page in that workbook? Challenge her with something new.
Worksheets Leave No Room to Challenge The Norm. This is a huge one for me. When I taught in the public schools, we were told to get kids to think for themselves and defend their answers. But, their answers and evidence must match the teacher’s guide and test answer key. Really? How is it possible to get a child to think for themselves and defend their position, but also be correct 100% of the time according to an answer key? It’s just not possible! I look at it this way, if a child can defend their answer to any question using evidence then it’s correct whether the answer key says so or not. In 20 years, do we want people running this country who only know how to give one answer, or do we want people who can be creative and think outside the box?
Practice for Kindergarten, “I need to use worksheets because they need the practice for kindergarten, that’s what they’ll be doing in kindergarten”. FALSE. My job as a professional educator is to help each child be as successful as possible in my classroom. “I will not prepare my students for inappropriate practices by doing inappropriate things in my own class.” If worksheets are what they’re doing in Kindergarten then perhaps the teaching practices in those classrooms need to be examined. This is how the worksheet cycle perpetuates itself, one teacher or grade level relies heavily on worksheets for instruction and then all the other grades/teachers fall in behind them at the copy machine. I challenge teachers everywhere to break the worksheet cycle and actually teach young children instead of occupying them with worksheets. It’s just like peer pressure in high school, don’t let yourself fall victim to it.
FALSE. When students are struggling academically the first thing that needs to be examined is teaching practice, we cannot blame academic failure on the lack of worksheets. I have seen situations where teachers were relying heavily on worksheets and then they became “forbidden”, the result was an academic drop in the students because the teachers didn’t know how to teach without using worksheets. The first thing that any educational institution should do before “banning” worksheet use is to make sure the teachers know how to teach without them.
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