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close this bookBasic Science and Health Education for Primary Schools Uganda (UNICEF, 1992, 162 p.)
close this folderIntroduction to Book
View the documentHow Children Learn
View the documentPlanning Health Education
View the documentDeveloping a Scheme of Work
View the documentDeveloping a Lesson Plan
View the documentTeaching Health Education
View the documentThe Child to Child Approach
View the documentResources for Teaching and Learning

How Children Learn

Children learn out of interest and curiosity. A teacher who is introducing new materials should first motivate children. Different methods of motivation should be used in order to get all the children who want to know something remember it and use it once they have learnt it.

We remember what we near

The materials to be learnt should be presented so clearly that it captures the pupils' interest. Some teachers can present clearly the material by using their voices and others can demonstrate so well that every child understands. Other methods such as plays and pictures may have to be used if all the children are to learn. In most cases children require both audio and visual aids to help them learn. More learning occurs if children are left to think about what has been taught. The child can then build mental pictures or images. Because of limited experiences it may be difficult for some children to build these images.

We remember what we read

We remember what we do

Such children are helped to learn by being shown the object they are to learn about.


Pictures, words and objects should be big enough for children to appreciate. Most children learn better if they are left to do things themselves. Science is most effectively learnt by doing. The teacher should know which method of learning is the best for the children. Teachers should recognise children who have a problem with hearing or with their sight and send them to hospital for correction.

Children also learn by imitation. They will copy the teacher's skills and behaviour. They also learn very well from other children. The quick learners in class can be good child teachers to other pupils. These can be used as models for others to copy. The teacher should always act as a guide if this child-to-child method is used. Children should be left to discover certain things and to tell their discovery to the rest of the class.


Teachers should try to associate new facts and skills to be learnt with ones already known. When children remember one fact they are likely to remember the others associated with it. Association helps children to recognise and understand certain things. Some examples of associations are bad behaviours and punishment, flies and diseases, good food and good health.

The materials to be presented, should be spaced and not too much should be taught at a time. Too much information confuses children.

After learning new materials it is easy to forget it unless it is practised and revised a number of times. Repetition fixes facts in our minds. The teacher should use the children's senses of hearing, sight, touch and movement.