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Moving beyond the learning outcome to achieve the ‘Desired outcome/product’

Have you ever thought of the variations that occur among children in performing tasks differently, just like adults? For example, is child “A” doing well in games and child “B” playing with figures? Does your child’s level in any skill leave you in a state of stress and dilemma? Just as you expect your child to top in a class, every other parent expects the same of their ward.

Though children might be exposed to the same resources, they develop different skills at a different pace. this is because every child is unique and they accomplish tasks in unique ways.

How do you handle the differences among children’s learning or developing a particular skill if you are oblivious to the concept of individual differences? Think about your experience with any delay in a child’s development, especially walking, talking, and toileting.

Perhaps some of those times you laughed, or got worried, or felt the need to ask for a second opinion, perhaps a doctor, or other adults? Never worry. Let’s reconsider the process of learning or developing skills and knowledge.

Learning as a process means that emphasis must be placed on the experiences and skills children gain in learning a concept and not on the outcome or the product. Providing a learning environment that supports children to enjoy what they do or encounter in daily life activities will have a great impact on those children’s interest in learning and developing a lifelong learning experience.

Do you have a routine or follow a particular method when you want your child to develop a particular skill or learn a new concept? How do you know that that particular method or routine that worked for a particular child will work for you?

Learning does not follow a static or specific method, hence the need for flexibility and consideration of the variation and pace that exists among individual children in acquiring new knowledge, skills, behaviors, attitudes, values, and understanding about the new concepts.

Does your child feel controlled or limited and compared to peers instead of exploring and enjoying the task? Learning is dependent on the individual child’s experiences and interaction with the environment including but not limited to people around him/her.

If children are assisted to focus on their present experiences while learning a new skill or concept and guided to enjoy it rather than seeing what they are learning as a competition and the need to do better than their peers, then children will be able to develop their full potential.

On the other hand, if adults condition children to value the outcome/product of the activities or learning they are engaged in rather than enjoying the process then there is a likelihood of remarkable negative effects on their emotions, behavior, and mental health.

The end result of conditioning children to focus on the outcome/product instead of the process is that most children turn to show no or little interest in learning since they feel controlled and not given the opportunity to develop an understanding of themselves and discover the meaning of realities through exploration, and may even develop a fear of failure.

Frequently, most adults (parents/teachers) tend to put children under undue pressure and compare children with their siblings or colleagues due to the idea of “excellence and success” which most adults do not understand themselves.

Let’s stop the “CAGE” and “excellence and success” syndrome now!!!
Instead of killing children’s self-esteem and identity with our “excellence and success” syndrome by putting them in a “Cage” and memorizing simple ideas, instead, let us allow them to develop an understanding of self and identity of the simple rules of how something works that lead to lifelong learning.
The little things matter.

Communicatiob: How do you develop meanings of reality with children? How do you express/exchange thoughts, ideas, emotions, cultural situations, etc with children? How do you listen or pay attention to children’s feelings and concerns about issues that matter to them? Communication is not a one-way affair; give children the voice because they are experts of their own experiences. Listening may give you an insight into your child’s thoughts and feelings that will help you understand them and provide the necessary and appropriate support.

Support: Support for children from an adult comes in different forms. Which forms are more important giving children all the physical, material things and technology they desire or building their emotions, creativity, and critical thinking with the opportunity to explore independently? Create a conducive and playful environment that makes learning enjoyable.

Make use of local/improvised materials when commercial tools are unaffordable. Be creative so children will emulate you. Let them come up with their own ideas, objects, etc. Let them learn through discovery.

Columnist: Mavis Brew

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