History remembers independent thinkers very kindly. Independent thinkers are who they are because they sought knowledge out on their own and cultivated their interests without any external push. Some of the most accomplished inventors, artists, writers and researchers have all formulated their learning objectives on their own.
Earlier, society credited their outlier personalities with their career success. However, it is truly not a deviant skill to possess if you raise your students or children to learn independently. You think this is impossible? Let us change your mind with these tips and tricks!
1. Create a different learning experience for the student at home:
Children don’t get the freedom to curate their own knowledge journey in classrooms since they have to follow a fairly strict regimen. Teachers and parents can collaborate to curate creative learning methods for children at home.
2. Set learning goals:
Do not tell your student/child what to study. Instead, encourage them to achieve a learning goal. For instance, instead of saying “hey, memorise pages 10-15 from the chapter Planets”, say “Today’s agenda is to learn about Space”. That way, you’re widening the knowledge base for your child and you’re encouraging them to go beyond textbooks and topics to learn more!
3. Set a reward system:
Once you establish learning goals, acknowledge them once accomplished. Encourage younger children with stickers or star charts, while older children can receive privileges such as an additional half-hour of browsing time on a parent-controlled laptop or system. Chances are, they will use this browsing time to seek out information that compounds their existing knowledge base.
4. Allow them freedom to choose their methods:
Do not micromanage their learning at any cost. Children tend to burn out in schools as they have to follow procedure to a T. This makes learning a boring experience and also one that requires no additional effort. Parents can change that attitude at home by allowing their children to create a system that works for them.
For instance, if a child chooses to learn by watching videos, don’t take that away from them. Offer suggestions but avoid enforcing methods. Children tend to respond better when they feel like they have agency over their choices.
5. Take the focus away from results:
Acknowledge effort and encourage your child’s process. Children are very sensitive to validation and one wrong move can derail them. They enjoy learning when they are not under any pressure to perform.
Children are naturally curious beings and the more we reward their process, the more we encourage them to think outside the box. This method fosters creativity, critical thinking and clarity in children and as a byproduct of this process, children also perform better in school.
So, to say, it is not very difficult to execute these methods at home. Parents and teachers should be facilitators in the learning process. They should not be the thought controllers. Encourage children to question everything they learn daily.
It is a fundamental process in thought evolution since you cannot change what you do not question. To develop thought leaders in the next generation, we must help them establish a strong academic foundation early on in their lives.