Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Trusting in the Classroom

When we think of education, many people have the image of a class of students actively listening to their teacher, soaking up important knowledge that will be useful for their future.

The learning process of a child is actually much more complex than it seems. It is true that a teacher is a vital piece of the learning process, but children actually naturally have the desire to learn and explore their world!

From the time they are born, they take in their world and experiment with what they are given. Each cue is closely studied and practiced. A child goes from babbling to speaking through an extensive amount of practice, making mistakes, and fixing them with help from the environment.

So why do we neglect this natural desire and skill to learn? Many times, when a child enters elementary school, life becomes stressful and a strict way of learning is enforced that can make a child feel defeated.

Writing is an important skill learned during the elementary grades. During schooling, children are drilled and forced to memorize spelling words with little critical thinking. Parents are worried about their children's progress and express dismay upon seeing inventive spelling and "wrong" ways of writing. Instead of using this deficient way of thinking, we should focus on what children CAN do. Studying a simple piece of writing that may seem "wrong", will show a plethora of information about how that child thinks and experiments with writing.

Each child learns in different ways. However, they all possess the skills to experiment with their learning and master reading and writing. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, see what is right and encourage their scientific way of thinking about writing! This will result in more confident writers.

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