Every parent spends a great deal of effort to get their child into a good school and to ensure that their educational needs are being met. Many also engage their teachers to know how their child is doing. However, the practices are at home are some of the most significant things that impact a child’s likelihood of success!
In today’s post, we present three principles that are key to helping your child succeed not only in school, but also in life.
Consistency is one of the most important principles you can impart to your child. This means setting aside a regular time for your child to practice and revise. It also means guiding her to stick to the routine.
Consistent practice and revision helps to shape studying into a habit, so that the behaviour is more likely to stick over the long term. Consistency teaches discipline and perseverance. By being consistent, a child learns to do something even when he does not feel like it, and is rewarded for it later. Consistency nurtures the ability to delay gratification, an attribute touted to be highly predictive of success later in life.
There are practical considerations as well. Consistency allows your child to keep up with the curriculum, preventing it from piling up into an overwhelming pile. Think about it. Who runs further – a runner who sprints in spurts, or a person who runs at a sustainable, regular pace?
Progressiveness means two things. First, it means providing the right level of difficulty. Learning requires just the right amount of challenge. A task that is too easy is not engaging nor rewarding. A task that is too difficult is discouraging and demotivating. In contrast, a task that is just right in difficulty, and engages, interests, and challenges the individual. Such a task is achievable but forces her to improve. When it is completed, it will provide a sense of satisfaction that will further encourage her pursuits.
Progressiveness also means increasing level of difficulty over time. This allows your child’s mastery to build, because what was a challenging task would eventually become too easy. Her comfort zone has grown, and her challenge zone has been raised.
By being progressive, your child can grow mastery and experience the rewards of hard work.
Previously, we wrote about how play complements learning. Play is stimulating, explorative, imaginative and open-minded; play enhances and enriches children’s mental representations; and play makes learning enjoyable and motivating. These are the same reasons that having fun is important – play is one way to have fun while learning!
Incorporating fun and enjoyment into learning helps to build a culture of positivity. This is important because studying is rigourous, and at times, stressful and discouraging. It is typical for a child to experience negativity frequently in their learning journey, as others tend to point out errors and mistakes more than what is done right.
Fun corrects that. By having fun, it is natural for laughter, encouragement and positivity to emerge. This helps to allay your child’s distress and increases the likelihood that she will actually enjoy learning. It also helps to prevent frustration from building up in both the child and the parent, and refocuses both parties towards learning and improvement.
How do we have fun while learning then? Avoid a myopic focus on tests, exams, and results. Instead, focus on learning, improvement and effort. Avoid dry repetition and practice. Instead, mix in sessions of fun and games, such as testing each other in a time trial, having discussions on wild ideas and imaginations with no boundaries, or pop quizzes with prizes. By being participative and having fun, your child no longer experiences a top-down pressure forcing her to learn; rather, both you and your child are learning together, and having a good time at that.
A CLOSING NOTE
We hope this helps with your endeavours to support your child at school and in life! These principles are core to our teaching philosophy at the Polymath Learning Centre. While we continually strive to ensure that our curriculum, structure, and content are tailored, educational and optimal, we are also mindful that we cannot focus solely on external influences to help your child improve. We must consider her learning needs. By being consistent, progressive and fun, we hope to impart a mindset of loving to learn to every child! ☺