Don’t you know how, when children are young, they are SO curious and eager and every experience is a learning experience?
Getting dressed, putting shoes on (often on the wrong feet!), getting ketchup out of the bottle. “Why is this like that”, “why are the whatsiwhoozit’s blue, not orange” “What if we did it this way instead of that way” “Here, let ME do it!”
It’s incessant. Nuts making at times!
It’s the natural tendency of human beings to explore, to wonder and to try out new ways of doing things. We can’t help it – we are just designed to learn. It’s like a game for us, isn’t it?
So what happens? Why do young people seem to become resistant to learning? Why does the light go out? Why is it SO hard for them to get ready for school in the morning?!
There are many theories and reasons, and elements of truth to all of them. My personal experience is that the natural love of learning diminishes when it’s met with such strange animals as “classroom management”, “grades” and “test scores”. When answers are good only if they’re “right” and blurting out in excitement is met with a stern look or chastisement. When ones emotional health and well being are considered to be separate from ones intellectual learning.
If the emotional environment is attended to; if the classroom is a world of “what if”, and “hmmm, let’s try that out and see”, if all answers and musings might lead somewhere and students are free to contribute, share and wonder aloud, then watch out! The fun of learning will kick back into high gear and who knows where it will lead?
Treating people with respect and compassion, creating classes that are interactive, engaging and hands on, allowing the interests of the students to inspire the direction of the class, providing leadership opportunities for children through the many stages of their growth and development – this is a recipe for keeping the light of learning alive. Years of experience has shown that kids who learn in an environment of trust, respect and compassion thrive as young adults. They have a strong sense of their own values, they are confident in asking questions, and in working towards long term goals. Their natural love of learning is vibrant and alive and they enter high school and college with a personal commitment to their own continuing education. And that’s what we want for them, right?
I am just SO excited to be embarking on another year of learning and growing with the young people at Austin Village Academy!
Austin Village Academy