Harnessing Your Child’s Learning

I believe children already have the tools for independent learning, they just need help to access their inbuilt resources. Discovering the joys of how knowledge is interconnected encourages creativity and thought-provoking enquiries. This method of independent learning appeals to all children as it is known to stimulate the joys of creativity, woohoo!

From experience, children love guided learning rather than prescriptive, old-school teaching (the vessel type, where knowledge is poured in….and woe betide you if any escapes!) Gentle and supportive guidance underpins my teaching ethos and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Finding the right balance can sometimes be tricky...

Does the following scenario sound familiar? Your child is keen to memorise the periodic table, write lots of stories or bake a winning cake but… they still need some guidance. At first, they are excited and eager to get stuck in with their task. Then their motivation starts to wane and any interest seems to disappear. Rest assured, it’s nothing you’ve done, but your child is trying to communicate with you that their learning environment needs tweaking. Perhaps they need just a little bit of support at just the right time. Perhaps they simply need someone to go on their journey, someone to deliever the exact amount of support to help them close some of those big gaps! Someone who can join them at THEIR level and not show off how they are already 10 steps ahead... No pressure, I hear you say. On one hand children crave the space to learn and on the other, they want suggestions, advice and guidance or simply a sound board to bounce off ideas. The key is to try your best at finding that elusive balance and remember it! In fact, knowing when to step back to let your child do ‘their thing’ is frequently under rated in teaching, learning and maybe even life in general.

The least effective thing you do is be a well-meaning micro manager. This style of ‘help’ does not go down well with children. They’ll end up yearning for mental space and at the same time will feel they’re not quite good enough and not quite up to standard, which can lead to mental fatigue.

Put simply, children love it when you work alongside them rather than from the position of authority, transferring knowledge or pushing them in a certain direction. Some children are especially sensitive and resistant to this and others less so. Enquiry-based curriculums at school are all the rage now (in some schools) as they encourage independent led learning, which children love because it fosters enthusiasm. There’s always lots of opportunities to ask weird and wonderful questions, which often go beyond the obvious.

Posted on September 10th 2021

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