SHENMO MOTTO: Virtue & Wisdom

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How hard is it to “sit still”?

2016-01-05 丨

The writer is from the Ministry of culture development

One of the biggest expectations of parents is that the children can “sit still”, and it seems that the main reason of it is that such type of children are easy to discipline—they can do their homework quietly, and be obedient and study earnestly in school.

To “sit still” is a behavioral action and behind the behavioral action is the concentration of attention. We expect that the children can be concentrated, they are good students in the eyes of teachers, they are good children in the eyes of parents, and they are the well-behaved “other people’s children” in the eyes of friends and relatives.

However, the fact is that our children always keep running in the house for fun, which makes teachers and parents upset, and they may define such a behavior as “hyperactivity”. In fact, whether the child can sit still cannot be defined easily: if some children younger than seven cannot sit still and have many little tricks, they are just more vigorous than other children at the same age influenced by habits, which doesn’t mean that they have “hyperactivity”. “Playing” is the principal thing for kindergarten children; they always learn skills in games and by playing games, they can achieve the development in language, social contact, society, science, and art. The “game” is a kind of kinesthetic learning. In the stage of kinesthetic learning, it is normal that the children cannot “sit still”, and “sit still excessively” is not good for learning comprehensively.

Children have their own ways or channels of learning, which can usually be divided into three styles: visual learning, auditory learning, and tactile learning.

We interviewed several students and their parents.

Visual learner Zhu’s parents:

 “My son is very fond of reading the comic books. He often goes to the picture book store to read the picture book version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms and reads some comic books at home. After reading those books, he always tells me a lot, like what is the moon or the earth; he can also remember a lot of digital information clearly.”

“He cannot sit still when reciting texts or English words. He keeps walking in the room and even turns somersaults back and forth in bed while reciting, but these have no influence on his recitation and are very good for it. Most of the time, he focuses on playing with construction toys all day and he can assemble and connect the pieces in many ways, which makes him enjoyable.”

“However, he rarely raises his hands to speak in the class voluntarily and shows timidity when communicating with others. His teacher tells me that he does not speak much in class, but he learns things quickly; although he does not like to read out, he concentrates on the teaching content, reading the book or looking at the blackboard to follow the teacher.”
Visual learners can follow the teacher and concentrate on the teaching content. They can have deep impressions on the things they’ve seen and the places they’ve visited. However, although they are favored by the teacher, they may enter the state of turning a deaf ear easily.

Tactile learner Xiao Yu’s parents:

“My daughter has strong language competence and her English is very good. She is also good at sculpture, print, and pottery; the owner of Pottery Shop likes her very much because she can attract more people to the store, besides, this Shop also sold my daughter’s works before”.

“Xiao Yu’s organizing ability is also strong. She is responsible for the uniform class T-shirt from design to printing and is an activist of all activities; she has her own opinions and is willing to make her own choice; she likes to read the text out”.

Tactile learner Xiao Jing’s parents:

“She likes to participate in all sorts of things, has broad interests, loves to win and is indomitable. She always writes the questions that she answered incorrectly in each exam on the small blackboard and teaches us at home, and that, the way she talks is like the teacher. When learning she likes a quiet environment; she often does homework in the room by herself and she will not have meal until finishes it. Xiao Jing asked the teacher to change her seat by herself and volunteered to take charge of blackboard newspaper and to be the host of the evening party. She has strong independence ability. Her school record is above the average and she has dance, piano, litter reporter, swimming, badminton, taekwondo, and others classes in spare time; for her, every day is full.

Tactile learning can also be called kinesthetic learning: generally speaking, it is to learn everything with the feeling of the body, and tactile learning covers from the tactile sense to body movement sense. For example, the Turkish blind painter Armagan is congenital blind, he has never seen all things in the world, but the mountain, animal, amber, and other scenes that he painted are lifelike. How could he do that? The secret lies in his keen tactile sense. By carefully touching the object to be painted before painting, putting a special drawing board with small holes in the center and on the edge under the drawing paper and measuring and determining the layout and specific orientation through touching the holes when painting, Armagan has successfully painted the beautiful pictures one after another, which is the positive use of tactile learning advantage.

For kinesthetic learners, they take two glasses of water, touch them, and feel their weight to know that the quantity of water in two glasses is the same, or two cubes have the same volume. The characteristics of kinesthetic learners are learning in movement, energetic, creative, and concerned about more things; besides, although the kinesthetic learners are smart, their learning in movement is often regarded as naughty”.

There are also auditory learners, but we did not find a clear case in this investigation. The majority of auditory learners mainly learn things in class by listening, even if they don’t look at the teacher, they can still grasp the contents told by the teacher; they often talk to others without looking at their face; they are easy to remember what they’ve heard, so people think auditory learners are also “smart”; however, their tolerance is weak and for most of them, their learning efficiency may be reduced by the noisy environment.

To sum up, we can see that each learning style of each type of children has its own characteristics, which requires the teachers and parents to pay more attention to the children’s behavior in study and life so as not to hurt them. After understanding the learning styles of the students, the teachers shall provide students with the most suitable learning environment and arrange different learning activities for different students. To help them use the best learning methods can significantly improve their learning efficiency and to train students the other two learning styles can enable them to learn comprehensively in the use of visual sense, auditory sense, and tactile sense, which is also one of the goals of education.

China is in the stage of rapid urbanization and the high-rise buildings made of reinforced concrete greatly compress the children’s natural growth space, limit their range of movement and social space. At the same time, a variety of unhealthy food not only affect the children’s bodies, but also quietly attack the children’s brain—many trace elements have a great influence on the children’s growth and development and intelligence, in many “cannot-sit-still” factors, the intake of lead, iron, zinc, and calcium (of which lead is harmful) has very obvious influence on children’s attention (many snacks may cause the loss of calcium, iron, zinc, and other beneficial elements or impede the discharge of harmful elements, such as lead).

In recent decades, the clearly proposed concept of child psychology and pedagogy enables us to learn about the “cannot-sit-still” factors more scientifically, so we should provide scientific and systematic training for the children according to the specific circumstance, because “sit still” is a kind of behavior accompanied by attention focusing, and the behavior training also effectively proves that the habit of “sitting still” can be developed.

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