How important is knowledge of Child Psychology for a Teacher in classroom setting?

Every child is a complicated individual. As they grow, they interact with a variety of people and are exposed to countless social settings. The wider the exposure gets, the more complicated the process of learning.

The learning process of a child is diverse from that of an adult. Child Psychology – is a branch of psychology that deals with the mind and behaviour of children. It is the act of observing a child’s behaviour patterns, which helps understand their learning abilities, likes, dislikes, emotions, etc. Growing children have complex emotions and they need to be understood at each stage of their development.

The study of child psychology is essential as it can help the caregiver possess a good understanding of how the child copes and also strategise new ways to support them in their growth from infancy to maturity. It is beneficial for both parents and teachers to comprehend the behaviour and aid children in their care.

Why Child Psychology Knowledge is important for teachers?

After a parent, the maximum time a child spends with is a teacher. A school, or daycare, is kind of a second home for a growing child. The school, especially nursery and playgroup is the place where the child gets an education which is not limited only to academic subjects but also learns how to function as a person in our day-to-day life.

Every child coming into the school has got a unique background and upbringing in their initial years. The conduct of one child in the class will not be similar to all others. Some may be very shy while some may be aggressive, a few might not want to talk whereas a few will be outspoken. The learning patterns of each of these children will be different.

A teacher who deals with children is also occupied with their complex thoughts every day. If the teacher is trained not only to teach children the subjects but also to observe and understand them, it helps ease the curating of the teaching process for the teacher as well as the learning process of the child.

The knowledge of child psychology helps to examine essential principles of human behaviour that can shape learning. Hence helping teachers assess a child’s needs correctly to gauge where the child stands in the learning skills and then take the required measures to help the child. It will ensure that the children can learn better and grow well. 

Another subset of psychology that is intimately related to education is called educational psychology. This involves the knowledge of how people learn, including teaching systems, instructional procedures, and individual variances in learning. The objective of this study is to recognize how people absorb and hold information.

Since educational psychology fairly focuses on children’s learning and development, it enables the creation of structured psychological and educational assessment techniques that can help children, especially the ones who have difficulties in learning or adjusting their behaviour in new social settings.

Suppose a child has mostly stayed at home with the mother or a babysitter or an old grandparent may not prefer to go to school considering their limited acquaintances. At the same time, another child who has been well exposed to a setting where they have got ample opportunities to gel with other kids and adults; like on playdates or daycare would not have a major issue adjusting to the school setting.

The goals of educational psychology are to understand the child first, then predict their behaviour and finally control the behaviour depending on the stage of the educational level.

A teacher having these skills can create separate learning methods that are relaxed, pleasing and exciting for each child with varying personality traits. No two children will cope alike with a single type of teaching method, hence this knowledge helps the teacher to segregate their approach depending on the observation of the child’s behavioural pattern.

Equally, it also helps figure out tactics for conflict resolution between kids as well as teacher-student relationships. A lot of times the child is dealt with differently at home and school, considering the personality of parents and teachers are different. The learnings from the strategies used by the teacher to manage conflict can also help a parent deal with the child similarly at home. This avoids the confusion of adult behaviour prediction for a child since the child will get a similar type of reciprocation both at school and at home.

E.g. A parent would be fine with feeding the child while they are roaming around the house but a teacher would focus on helping the child to sit in one place and self-feed. This difference in approach sometimes confuses the child hampering their understanding of acceptable behaviour. If the teacher has applied some methods to help the child self-feed, it would be better to relay the techniques to the parent. So the parent can use the same method at home, ultimately helping the child become independent.

Below are the common learning disorders seen in young children:

Note: If you have observed any developmental delay in your child, kindly refer to your paediatric development specialist for assessment and diagnosis.

  1. Dyslexia – is a language-based learning disability that affects the processing of spoken and/or written language. Children with dyslexia usually have difficulty reading accurately and fluently.


  • Late talking.
  • Learning new words slowly.
  • Problems forming words correctly, such as reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike.
  • Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers and colours.
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games.

How a teacher can help –

  • Create a supportive and collaborative classroom culture.
  • Use multisensory input and activities.
  • Offer learners choices.
  • Present new language in small and manageable chunks.
  • Spend some time explicitly teaching exam strategies.
  • Dyscalculia – Children with dyscalculia struggle with learning mathematical concepts such as numerical organisation and understanding quantity, place value and time. They may also face difficulty in following and/or using steps involved in math problems.

Symptoms –

  • Difficulty counting backwards.
  • Difficulty remembering ‘basic’ facts.
  • Slow to perform calculations.
  • Weak mental arithmetic skills.
  • A poor sense of numbers & estimation.
  • Difficulty in understanding place value.
  • The addition is often the default operation.
  • High levels of mathematics anxiety.

How a teacher can help –

  • Create separate worksheets for word problems and number problems.
  • Highlight or circle keywords and numbers on word problems.
  • Allow extra time on tests.
  • Give step-by-step instructions and have the student repeat them.
  • Provide charts of math facts or multiplication tables.
  • Dysgraphia – refers to difficulty with the physical act of writing. This includes having a cramped grip when holding a pencil, illegible handwriting, inconsistent spacing, and poor spelling (unfinished words or missing words or letters).

Symptoms –

  • Difficulty forming letters or numbers by hand.
  • Slow handwriting development compared to peers.
  • Illegible or inconsistent writing.
  • Mixed upper and lower case letters.
  • Difficulty writing and thinking at the same time.
  • Difficulty with spelling.

How a teacher can help –

  • Allow extra time on written assignments.
  • Allow speech-to-text tools, or teacher or peer scribes for written assignments.
  • Allow students to write numeric formulas as opposed to math word problems.
  • Provide a written copy of whiteboard notes.
  • Dyspraxia – is associated with delayed neurological development that makes it difficult to plan and coordinate physical movement. A child with dyspraxia struggles with fine motor skills (hand-eye coordination, holding a pencil), or gross motor skills (running, jumping). 

Symptoms –

  • Problems with movement and coordination are the main symptoms.
  • Children may have difficulty with: playground activities such as hopping, jumping, running, and catching or kicking a ball.
  • They often avoid joining in because of their lack of coordination and may find physical education difficult.

How a teacher can help –

  • Pay attention to writing utensils and paper.
  • Consider alternatives to activities requiring handwriting.
  • Teach dyspraxic children touch-typing.
  • Provide breaks in the schedule.
  • Emphasize directions in step-by-step form.
  • Autism – Difficulty mastering certain academic skills can stem from pervasive developmental disorders such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Children with autism spectrum disorders may have trouble communicating, reading body language, learning basic skills, making friends, and making eye contact.

Symptoms –

  • Not responding to their name.
  • Avoiding eye contact.
  • Not smiling when you smile at them.
  • Get very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound.
  • Repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body.
  • Not talking as much as other children.

How a teacher can help –

  • Establish a routine with them.
  • Consider the learning environment.
  • Manage changes and transitions.
  • Integrate their interests.
  • Work with their parents/carers.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention to and focusing on a single task. They are easily distracted and often struggle with learning in traditional classroom settings.

Symptoms –

  • Being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings.
  • Constantly fidgeting.
  • Being unable to concentrate on tasks.
  • Excessive physical movement.
  • Excessive talking.
  • Being unable to wait their turn.
  • Acting without thinking.
  • Interrupting conversations.

How a teacher can help –

  • Instruction and assignments tailored to the child.
  • Positive reinforcement and feedback.
  • Using technology to assist with tasks.
  • Allowing breaks or time to move around.
  • Changes to the environment to limit distraction.


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