How To Build Learning Skills In Children
Famous philosopher John Locke described a newly borne child as ‘Tabula-Rasa’ – a Latin word, which signifies a clean slate. That’s how a child enters into this world. Gradually this clean slate gets coloured with hues of myriad experiences.
Every child is born with certain abilities and competencies and potential which can only be realised if he gets a conducive environment. Heredity sets the limits but it’s the environment that helps a child to reach up to that limit. Therefore the onus lies on all of us to help our young ones to develop their wings so that can soar higher and higher. For this, the school and home, two important pillars in a child’s life, should actively co-ordinate. As learning can’t be a compartmentalized process confined to the development of cognitive skills only, a multi-prong strategy is a must.
Childhood is a crucial stage for the overall development of a child. A young child’s mind is like a sponge, absorbing all the experiences around. This is the time when nature starts establishing neural connections leading to the rapid growth of the brain. At this stage, providing a highly stimulating environment to children, which not only enhances their cognitive skills but also makes them physically and emotionally strong, helps. Children should also be given exposure to varied experiences that develop their verbal, numerical and mechanical skills.
The development of these skills is linked to the enhancement of critical, creative and problem-solving skills that are crucial in sharpening the mind in order to succeed in a competitive, fast-paced and ever-changing tech-driven world. There is a need in educational institutes to have separate classes devoted to the enhancement of these skills. In addition to blocks, puzzles, games children should explore the world around them (nature walk, museums etc.) besides hands-on experience that grows them emotionally and inculcates perseverance and resilience. ‘Remember-and-repeat’ type of learning system doesn’t breed innovators, explorers and discoverers as is being seen US, Israel, Japan, South Korea and even China.
There are fresh challenges in learning during the adolescent period. Foremost of them is staying focussed, enhancing attention span, and improving concentration. Tech-revolution is impacting the concentration levels. Exposure to the Internet and electronic devices have immense potential for distraction as well. Co-ordinated efforts of educational institutions and parents are needed to constructively channelise the immense reservoir of energy, that children are. Ensuring that the children stay focused on their holistic development.
Easy accessibility of information on the internet and currently prevailing tuition culture have played havoc with the desire to learn on their own. Children lack the discipline to struggle with the problem and develop insight into the concepts by making their own efforts… Over-dependence on being spoon-fed is not only detrimental for their self-confidence but damages their achievement orientation as well.
Educational institutions too are evolving to cater for the new demands of the new age young minds. A heterogeneous group of different learning styles should be taught with an amalgamation of multi-sensorial experiences of visual, auditory and kinaesthetics. Technology for that is also evolving as rapidly and contributing immensely.
The importance of the physical component of personality, can’t be overemphasised either. For that, the children need to be encouraged towards interactive(group) and outdoor activities. Spending hours on virtual platforms and indulging in the imaginary and the digital world would devoid them of the necessary experience of sweating it out in the open vistas and also of fiercely competing with each other and building character traits such as honesty and responsibility. It’s also vital in enhancing their self-esteem and achievement orientation and also inculcating the spirit of teamwork and mutual cooperation.
Last but not least – Children’s emotional needs shouldn’t be sacrificed for economic pursuits. Materialistic and financial comforts can’t substitute for the emotional warmth, comfort and security of a healthy parent-child relationship. The unconditional love of parents lays the foundation of a strong personality, enhances self-esteem, makes a child mentally and emotionally strong besides overall well being. Such children excel academically and are able to make healthy living choices therefore would be better equipped to face challenges of life.
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