By Millie Looker and NumberWorks’nWords
I was so lucky to be raised in a world that celebrated learning. I always had a book in my hand, and no matter how slow I was or how many words I stumbled over I had different family members always there to listen as I practised. Once I headed into school the support continued to grow, with family, teachers and students all there to celebrate the little wins — such as a good grade on a test, or a healthy report card.
Because I’ve always found learning to be such a positive thing, I’ve held onto it and look forward to (most) of my subjects at Uni and the new experiences I can learn from through my work. It’s so important to feel encouraged to learn and grow, which is why we asked NumberWorks’nWords for their tips on how to encourage the children of our future to LOVE TO LEARN…
At NumberWorks’nWords, we are focussed on this goal of really getting our students to love the education they are receiving at home and at school. Realising that the one thing that we give our children that no one can take away, is their education, maybe we should take more care to engender this love of learning that will lead to their ultimate success.
The following points are a collection of tips and tricks collected over the years and put together to help as a guide to encourage a love of learning. Have fun as you work to implement them in your family.
1. Show that you’re a learner too
Share things you have learnt. Tell your children about Professional Development and Conferences you attend. Invite their opinions on things you have read for your own interest. Never talk down to them. Be part of the learning community.
2. Encourage creativity
Give children opportunities to create in any way they like. Have them create original expressions of their learning through a variety of web tools. Let them draw, write a song, make a film, create a cartoon or record a podcast. Put a camera in their hands for recording and expressing learning.
3. Make it meaningful
Make connections to their lives. Encourage interpretations that make sense to them. Create for an authentic audience, by publishing online through blogs, wikis and other web ideas. Don’t set chores, don’t hand out worksheets, don’t assign work… create motivating learning experiences.
4. Flatten classroom walls
Don’t confine learning to the classroom. Bring the world in. Collaborate online with children in other places. Use Skype for global connections.
5. Demonstrate your passion
If you aren’t enjoying the learning, neither will the students. If what you do bores you, it will bore them too. If you clearly love it, they will too! Interact with other parents and educators online to fire up your enthusiasm.
6. Respect your children
Don’t expect the same from every child. Make sure every child knows that you know where they’re at. Don’t imagine any kind of standardised tests will tell you that. Listen to their conversation and value their thinking. Show interest. Know every child’s story.
7. Provide variation
Don’t fall into the habit of doing things the same way all the time. Come up with new ways of practicing skills. Share ideas with other parents. Get ideas online. Get ideas from the children. Surprise them. Use different tools and formats and approaches. Plan for multiple intelligences and different learning styles. Make learning a family experience and if possible, a community one.
8. Implement inquiry as a stance
Encourage children to explore, question and wonder. Invite them into a new topic with a strong provocation that inspires curiosity. Provide opportunities for them to play with possibilities and investigate in a variety of ways. Help them make connections between different areas of learning. Focus on concepts and big ideas. Be controversial and play the devil’s advocate in a situation to get a measured response.
9. Play games
Find games online and offline. Get children to move around and play physically. Play thinking games. Invent games and let them invent games. Make sure every game has a learning goal. Make the learning goal explicit to the children. Make it fun!
10. Encourage students to be responsible for their own learning
Tell them they are! Give them choice. Don’t make all the decisions. Encourage goal setting and reflection. Create a culture of thinking. Talk less. Step back and hand over control…
Should you wish to discuss any of these ideas with us and how we plan to motivate our students to LOVE LEARNING, please feel free to give us a call or fill in a free assessment request. We would love to hear some of your ideas to add to our list.