There is considerable scope of developing independent learning abilities in children from three to five years of age. Teachers and parents can both encourage the growth of self-directed learning in kids.
By Pankaj Kumar Singh
Independent learning is a practice through which kids can develop an inquisitive mind. This is an effortless exercise that parents and teachers can encourage kids to get involved in from a young age. It’s imperative for kids to develop independent learning skills in preschool to increase brain stimulation. Motivating kids to become independent learners has proven to be impactful and enhances the growth and development of the child.
There are several useful techniques developing and increasing self-learning in kids.
Here are some tips for teachers and mentors:
Preschools must be fully equipped with training and activity facilities, where children are encouraged to participate in team exercises. There must be a range of innovative techniques to involve children in collaborative activities that requires them to articulate their own understanding.
It’s an instructional practice where the children are told a story or narrated an activity and they are then supposed to give detailed explanations of the narration with a reasoning of their own.
It’s a kind of structured procedure, which involves teachers teaching a particular task to children, who are then asked to teach the activity to their peers.
This covers a range of instructional ideas involving children’s evaluation and analysis of their learning. Like, kids deciding the level of difficulty they would like to undertake for a particular task, and selecting their best work for reflective tasks.
Teachers should give an opportunity to kids to make their own decisions. Sometimes, when an adult becomes involved in an activity, the children are more inclined to deny the task; it could be lack of confidence or just to question the authority. However, if the children work in a group, they are less likely to question their abilities, and often mimic other children. Kids learn better and faster by watching one another which is a huge benefit for them as well as their parents.
According to a study, there is a considerable scope of developing independent learning abilities in children from three to five years of age. Apart from teachers, parents are also equally responsible for the growth of self-directed learning in their kids.
Here are some tips for parents:
Encourage effort over success
Studies have shown that children who are praised for their efforts after completing a task are more likely to put extra effort into future difficult situations. Parents must praise success of their kids because not doing so can lead to a chance of failure in the future. Children who are commended for their work are encouraged to continue putting forth effort into new and increasingly difficult challenges.
Connect play time to learning experiences
Nurture a child’s interest by connecting what they enjoy playing with a learning exercise. If a child likes building, help them expand on their interest by introducing them to building blocks. If a child likes sculpting with clay, help them explore structures that animals sculpt in nature.
Create Opportunities for Exploration
Creating opportunities for kids to learn can be an easy method to develop self-directed learning. For example, leaving a paper and coloured pencils within easy reach for children to use when inspiration strikes.
Allow for Free Play
It’s important that children learn while playing. So, parents should allow time for uninterrupted, unstructured play, where children can fully use and explore their imagination and creativity.
Kids are capable of managing a number of things on their own. Parents/teachers should give them time and have patience to see the development and not take over the task before they ask for help. Kids love to get involved in meaningful work. They just need someone to be available for them; through these play-and-learn techniques, children can become independent learners.
(The writer is Managing Director, Jalsa Ventures Private Limited, Cambridge Montessori Pre-School.)