The State Of Learning:
Whether we’re learning Karate via Zoom, or making dishes with our grandma over FaceTime, or sitting in our virtual classes for 6 or 7 hours a day, there’s one thing that has come out of this Pandemic. We’re all learning. And we’re finding new ways to keep doing it every day.
But, here’s the core at this question. Since our tools have changed, and our settings have changed for the interim (one could only hope how long), shouldn’t our approach to learning also evolve?
The Fundamentals of Learning:
Whether, its online or offline, for educators, the task of teaching and mentoring our children with cognitive and life skills has always had its roots in understanding our mutual humanity.
Here are a few fundamentals that don’t change.
- Teacher must be prepared and be ready to address any learning barriers children might have.
- The importance of connecting their current learning and its relevance to the real world applications.
- The presence of deep connections between children, their parents and their educators.
- Children having someone who holds them accountable for their learning and their potential.
- Children having a channel to provide feedback and feel supported in their peer group to navigate problems.
How We Learn:
On that note, let’s also learn how we human learn from our situations, experiences and circumstances. This is how our brain decides what it has learnt with the help of two things:
- By making sense of what we’re working on.
- And by finding meaning in what we’re doing.
When we show our children the relevance of their learning, they understand the why of what they’re doing. Because with a “Why”, we can almost always endure a “What”! Isn’t that true?
Here’s the bottom line. We must encourage our children to see power in creation and not in consumption. Creativity and Growth are great tools for personal satisfaction and thereby, overall happiness.
Two Types Of Learning Goals:
“What a story men would have to tell if only they would adopt a definite purpose, and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming obsession!” ~ Napoleon Hill
We all need goals, some short easy ones to stay motivated and some long term, difficult goals to develop mastery in areas we’re interested in.
There are two types of learning goals. Performance goals and mastery goals.
- Performance goals are short, clearly defined goals like getting an A in Math. They act as motivators in a competitive setting.
- Mastery goals are self-development goals. They are meant to test our limits of endurance and persistence. They emphasize our desire to learn and honing in on skills like becoming good at algebra concepts.
Get Them Young:
Children come into classrooms with different home circumstances, cultural differences, learning abilities and concerns. But there’s a common thread that connects us coaches and children. And it’s what makes us all human. Our need to make deep personal connections, our eagerness to matter and our aspiration to solve challenges are things that make us all the same.
Character is more important than accomplishments. When children hear these words when they’re young, a shift happens in the way they think about how to operate in the world as they grow into adults. At FutureSTRONG Academy, we’re not fixing issues, but we’re building a foundation of personal values and principles.
Attitude Matters In Times Of Uncertainty:
Whatever might be the problem, here are some cold hard facts. The world will always keep changing and we will always have problems. That’s the only constant in our lives. Then why not think solutions and not worry about problems. Why not think of the next steps ahead of us instead of mulling over the persistent condition?
Let’s start with thinking of ourselves as problem solvers. That’s an empowering thought. Now, let’s internalize this. “I’m down for anything. That’s just easy instead of fighting everything.” When faced with an adversity, challenge or catastrophic situation, thinking of what we can do instead of what could have been is going to be imperative.
A Holistic Approach To Learning:
There’s a saying about old age. The minute you decide you’ve learnt enough is when you become old. So keep your thirst for learning new things each day, and you’ll never be old!
When it comes to learning, there are so many life skills that children should learn to become successful and productive citizens of the society. Whole child education must focus on the cognitive, mental, physical aspects of a child along with academics. Developmental milestones by grade level aside, a child’s ability to navigate difficulties, commitment to achieve goals, courage to form an opinion, ability to negotiate with peers are paramount in determining success throughout life.
1. Set realistic goals
2. Manage time and emotions
3. Feel and show empathy for others
4. Establish positive relationships
5. Make responsible decisions
6. Lead even when the path is difficult
Ask Children The Right Questions:
Gone are the days when we asked kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Times have changed and so have the definitions of what job or a profession means. Life around us is changing at an exponential speed and the jobs are kids are going to be doing have not been invented yet.
It will help children to learn creative problem solving, computational thinking, and self efficacy to take on challenges that are bothering our society. And to navigate whatever uncertainty that comes their way and to be employable.
They must be able to answer questions of what skills, and abilities they will need to solve problems. And how they will partner and negotiate with others. And how they will decide on what problems they want to solve. They must be able to understand their strengths, passions and talents. And how they plan to sustain their growth and momentum in their daily life.
Lessons Outside The Classroom:
Here’s the final idea. Let’s face it, the rigor and structure of academics is no match for real life which is boring, unstructured and volatile. Real life needs us to constantly change and adapt to its volatile nature. Real life problems need quick thinking and an attitude of resilience in the face of obstacles.
Because real life problems can be messy, long and can test the limits of our endurance, there is no one right answer.
In our childhood we learnt everything through unregimented self exploration and sheer force of willpower – like walking and talking. As children we found joy in the freedom of expression and creativity that unstructured play offers.
As we begin to grow, we stop playing to our strengths and start learning through text books. But children learn from so many places outside of the classroom. By witnessing our lives, they learn the power of self regulation, hardwork and everyday leadership in the struggles of real life. From the society, they learn tolerance and understanding that everyone has a unique value proposition.
Curious Learners For A Strong Future:
The word education must be associated with humor, interaction, laughter, novelty and discovery rather than boredom, exams, tests, fear and anxiety. Education that is fun and engaging can reignite the fire of desire to learn, to understand, to master everything as children it seems unstoppable.
Apart from academics, we must teach our children that no one can determine their value but themselves. We must teach them that success is living intentionally each day. That it is going that extra mile when everyone has already quit. And it is making the small wins along the journey and becoming a better version of themselves than the previous day. It is taking action each and every day, however big or small.
FutureSTRONG Academy strives to make education interesting through activities that increase curiosity and critical thinking. Children can be taught to develop persistence and create and sustain long term goals by learning how to manage time and expectations and problem solve real world scenarios. Whether they become a high flying executive, a lawn worker or a coffee shop owner, personal qualities like grit, empathy and curiosity can turn them into unstoppable life long learners.
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About The Article Author:
I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté.
Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like.
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents
Inside The Ideal 21st Century Classroom
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