The greater engagement that a child has with their learning, the more likely that they will be able to absorb lessons and discover the relevance of education in their own lives and futures. Too many children become bored with the academic process and as a consequence of this, learn nothing and drop out from mainstream education altogether.
Educating for the future
Learning by repetition simply crams a student’s head full of facts and they don’t necessarily understand the relevance of this knowledge. Contemporary education tries to involve students in discussions about the subject matter while covering the key aspects of the current curriculum. A gifted teacher will make full use of all teaching resources in order to help students learn. The resources may include equipment, trips to places of interest and suggestions from the students themselves.
Making the curriculum more interesting
The recent Channel 4 TV series, Educating Cardiff, illustrated beautifully why it’s vital to engage with students at every level. A wonderfully patient maths teacher was trying to explain Pythagoras when one of his pupils piped up that she was never going to use the subject after she left school, so why bother to learn it at all?
The teacher then explained how Pythagoras is relevant to many careers and aspects of life, which helped the student to understand the relevance of the lesson.
The school also talked to their students and discovered what talents the students had, and tried to use extra curricular activities in order to boost the students’ self-esteem and help them enjoy their school experience as a whole.
Listen to the students
In previous decades schools used to adopt a policy of ‘one size fits all.’ Many students left school utterly bewildered, with few academic qualifications and felt that their school years had been a complete waste of time. It’s only by talking to students and discovering why they find it so hard to learn certain subjects that educators can have any hope of success.
A recent article in The Guardian suggests that a classroom with teaching assistants who have the time to listen to students’ questions and problems might also promote school learning. The article also examined the fact that some schools don’t make the best use of their teaching assistants. Goals must be set at the start of the academic year so both the students and the teaching assistants have a clear idea of what needs to be achieved and how assistants can ‘help students take ownership of their learning, encouraging them to ask questions and take risks.’
Enriching the mind
Children develop at different ages, have different interests and some may find learning easier than others. A well-equipped classroom and sympathetic staff will help a child discover that the real meaning of the word education isn’t just concerned with learning, but with enriching the mind.
Listening to students helps teachers discover how school can work more effectively. This process will ensure that more children will leave school with greater confidence in themselves.
What do you think? Do you think children could benefit from being more involved with how and what they’re taught?
*This is a collaborative post.