The human baby is born with an innate curiosity and a seemingly insatiable need to learn. Toddlers and young children seem to find anything and everything interesting and they never run out of questions! Why is that…? How does…? Where is the…? What is…..? They are also determined to ‘do- it-by-myself!’ In fact, they insist on it!
Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centres says that as children grow and experience the world around them, they seem to lose this love of learning and worse, they begin to resist it! “Learning resistance as well as a need for dependence in learning is actually a learned behaviour! In fact, it is simply a defense mechanism that our children develop over time to protect themselves from negative learning experiences! Our children develop a fear of making mistakes as they experience negative reactions and feedback to their efforts in mastering new skills and concepts. Children develop a negative sense of self and convince themselves that they are flawed and incapable of achieving success independently and if at all,” Cindy explains.
So how do you turn back the hands of time?
Cindy offers 6 top tips for supporting your children in becoming independent learners:
- The art of making effective mistakes: Perfection does not exist on this planet! Mistakes are simply opportunities to practice and learn. Children who are not afraid to learn are more likely to trust themselves when tackling new ideas!
- Flexibility is a fundamental: Teach your children the art of resilience which is the ability to recover quickly from challenges and obstacles.
- Develop a growth mindset: A growth mindset, will ensure that your children believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. Learning is hard work and there are no shortcuts.
- Encourage and praise your children: Celebrate every success in independent learning, no matter how small it may seem. Little successes, acknowledged, will grow!
- Age-appropriate expectations: A Gr 1 learner needs more support in learning than an older learner. Never expect a young learner to tackle tasks that are overwhelming. Little steps will lead to leaps. Build that confidence over time.
- Accept help when needed: Seek remediation and learning support services if you notice that your children need a helping hand. Mastering the skills needed for effective learning to take place will go a long way in helping your children become more independent learners.
“It’s important that we support our children in becoming independent learners in order to increase motivation and confidence. Children who learn independently feel a greater sense of accomplishment and are more likely to explore challenging topics with confidence. And finally independent learning prepares our children for the world beyond school. They develop critical thinking and emotional intelligence skills which are essential for success in life,” Cindy concludes.