Sunday, 4 March 2012

Types of Categories and How to Teach Them

Last post I discuss about the importance of learning to categorize. Thus what are the types of categories  we can find in our everyday life that we can use to teach the children the skill of categorization? Here are just some of the few suggestions for you to explore teaching your child.

Types of Categories:
1) Basic categorization by assigning items to their respective broad categories. For example dog, lion and owl are all animals.

2) Categorize items according to their attributes such as colours and shapes.

3) Categorize items according to their use. For example food is for eating, toys are for playing and clothes are for wearing.

4) Categorize items according to where they can be found.

5) Categorize items by their sub categories. For example fish, turtle and octopus are animals that swim. Sub categories can be further developed based on the above groups. For example, broccoli, long beans and lettuce are all vegetables but they are also green food.
All the above groupings could be combined with one another to create a sorting category. Another example will be clothes we wear on a sunny (attribute) day versus clothes we wear on a wet, cold day.

How to teach categorization.
There are many methods to teach categorization. Other than the following suggested methods, you can come up with more interesting and fun ways to teach your child about categorization.

1) Matching and sorting.
Have 2 to 3 set of pictures on the table. Hand the child a card to match to the same category it belongs to. For sorting, place a small pile in front of the child and get him or her to sort the cards according to their respective categories.

There are other methods of sorting and matching. Can you think of a couple?

2) Labelling of items individually while assigning them to a category. Inform the child that you are going to talk about animals. "Let’s talk about animals. Tell/show me some animals". Place pictures down individually under the heading of the category together with child and label the animals together. Prompt is faded once child displays ability to label items independently. To test if the child understands concept, ask the child to label items without picture cues.

3) Walk around the house and look for items belonging to a particular category and then write them down. "Let’s look for furniture around the house. What furniture can we find? I see furniture! The chair is furniture." ETC.

Of course there are so many wide ranging ideas to teach categorization. If one idea doesn't work, don't give up. We can always work around an idea to make it suit the child's learning level.

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