The world of education is always changing, and even more over in the past few years with the influx of digital technology, online learning, and shifts to our overall lifestyles and landscapes post pandemic. However, with these changes comes new ways of thinking, learning, teaching, and ultimately, growing. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, advocate, or a little bit of everything, here are some tangible ways you can support children in education at schools, homes, tutoring centers. . . and in the every day!
1. Remember That Failure is Fine
Failure is frustrating and even demoralizing at times (especially if the child feels as if he/she is not ‘good enough’), but it’s also necessary for learning and perfecting a skill. In order to be good at anything, we need to start somewhere (and often we start with little-to-no experience). For this reason, failure needs to be viewed as a positive because it shows growth, change, and consistency over time.
Support children in education by teaching them that failure is beneficial.
Whether it’s their grades at school, a skill, or even a passion, failing needs to be thought of as a necessary ‘benchmark’ to eventual success. That being said, if and when failure occurs, teaching your child/student that failure can (and should!) be learned from is key to growth.
2. Implement Learning Strategies
If you want to support children in education, teach them how to learn more efficiently through learning strategies. A learning strategy is a mode of learning that gives children the tools they need to acquire new knowledge. An example of a learning strategy could be mnemonics for numbers (like this one, for example). Or, it could be something more complex, like understanding you learn kinesthetically (through movement) and applying that system to your learning lesson.
Teaching children learning strategies supports their studies in the present and stays with them forever. It’s also a way for them to have more independence and ownership over their work.
3. Support Their Passions
If you want your child or homeschool student to grow up and have a successful career doing something they love, it’s important to support their passions and abilities. Too often, parents and teachers think they know best when it comes to subject choice, but interests are important as it creates a natural buy-in for the child.
If you notice your child has a genuine interest in a subject or an activity, take it seriously and look for ways to encourage and support them. When a child starts learning the skills and techniques of a subject early, they benefit from better acquisition of the subject and can specialize sooner.
4. Create Relevance
If you want to improve the quality of education for a child, family group, or classroom, look for ways to make the subjects more relevant and personal. Children respond to subjects and information they recognize, but as they are fairly new in the world, they need some context.
The best way to fast-track a child’s education is to immerse them in the field of study and allow their minds to make natural connections between the classroom subject and larger themes of the field. (A great example of creating context is by finding applicable field trips to take them on so that they can experience the lesson first-hand).
5. Consider Speech Therapy
Some children have speech challenges, conditions, or impediments that are inherited or develop in the speech acquisition phase of development. Speech impediments can make it difficult for children to be understood properly and impacts education, especially in their early years. If this relates to your child(ren) or student, it’s important to have speech therapy early on.
Speech therapy involves working regularly with someone who specializes in speech pathology to train the speaker to pronunciation and clear speaking. If you notice a speech issue in your child or someone in your class, it’s important to investigate further and find a professional to support their education.
6. Use Games/Gamify Learning
If there’s one thing that all children respond to, no matter their age, it’s games! This is why gamification—the process of turning a lesson into a challenging or engaging game—is such an excellent way to engage young learners and improve their education early on.
Using digital technologies and online learning platforms, educational games can be developed that are fun to play, informative, and convenient, as they can be set up in remote learning environments. Gamification is also a useful way to develop digital skills!
7. Use Nature
Nature is not only fun and accessible, but it’s also an excellent way to support education in young people. Taking students into the local parks and gardens to research the plants and animals helps them to learn about nature and the world around them.
There’s no doubt that digital technologies have transformed education and accelerated learning, but there is something to be said for a natural learning approach that cultivates traditional learning abilities (like memory recall, collaborative group work, strategic thinking and much more).
8. Implement Logical Consequences
Now and again, children misbehave, and consequences are required. Often, parents and teachers punish children by taking something of theirs away; for example, losing out on internet time or video game time (at home).
The trouble with this kind of approach is that it doesn’t effectively mimic grown-up adult life, which works on the basis of cause and effect. Instead of creating artificial outcomes, try to show children the realistic consequences of their actions; this helps to build more self-discipline and supports a ‘whole-child’ approach to education.
9. Teach Relaxation Techniques
Another helpful way to support a child’s education is to teach them effective relaxation techniques—such as mindfulness—from an early age. It’s easier than you might think to teach mindfulness to children: teach them to belly breathe and practice being mindful animals.
Like adults, children need relaxation strategies to calm their minds and put them into a state of calm alertness. In this state, the mind learns best, so make sure your children and students have the best chances in the classroom and in life to practice mindfulness.
10. Limit & Educate Around Internet Browsing
Internet browsing is now a key part of learning and acquiring new knowledge. And, depending on the child’s age, some might say it’s an indispensable part of the process.
Internet browsing is central to education, but it needs to be used carefully and safely. Before allowing children to browse the internet (even in research-related contexts!) teach them strategies to use their devices and browsers in safe and intelligent ways. It’s also important to safeguard children on the internet by teaching them about the dangers of cyberbullying, identity/impersonation, etc.
With the right approach and education, you shouldn’t need to worry about children or students using the internet in an unhealthy way.