Over the past 18+ years of working and studying in education I have had a keen interest on learning styles.
The one thing that continually emerges is that learning needs to be both fun and varied.
Why does learning need to be fun?
Human behaviour has evolved over time. When we are suffering from stress or a fear of something the “fight or flight” instinct kicks in.
It can be recognised as your heartbeat racing faster, a tight sensation in your chest. Your senses also become more heightened to what is happening around you.
The reason behind this is because in prehistoric times our ancestors may have found themselves in situations which required a rapid response; such as coming face to face with a wolf, bear or other threat.
They needed to be able to respond quickly so that they stayed alive. Therefore, they instinctively took flight or stayed to fight.
Although we don’t have such threats in the modern world, a fear of something will still create this same response from us.
For a child or anyone who struggles with learning there is a heightened sense of fear when face to face with something unfamiliar to them or something that they have previously struggled with.
As parents or educators, I feel it is our responsibility to remove that sense of fear.
How can we reduce / remove the sense of fear?
This is quite simple.
We teach through the use of enjoyable resources so that the focus is aimed not only on the end result but also the journey there.
The more enjoyable we can make the journey, the less inclined the child will be to want to flee the situation. This is in part why young children are encouraged to learn through play.
Why can’t older children learn like this as well?
The children I work with at Starr Tutoring are aged between 5 and 16 years old. We also work with adults who are returning to education.
We always play a variety of games in our learning such as:
Hangman, creating word searches or playing battleships for learning new terminology or spellings.
These ideas can also be used to stimulate ideas before writing a story, piece of persuasive writing or other piece of extended writing.
Lily pads, snakes and ladders and pairs are frequently used for ideas that need definitions or specific answers (such as in maths).
Drawing pictures to illustrate what a scene in a book describes rather than writing it down.
Annotating pictures of characters with key quotes that they use and the relevance of these quotes.
Use colour and reward every small step that is achieved.
By doing this you are also building confidence in the child that they can succeed.
The more confident the child is feeling the more likely they are to want to participate as the fight or flight mode is removed.
The more they participate the more practice they gain.
More practice means the better they become.
The spiral of success grows and so does the self-fulfilling philosophy of achievement and success.
Making learning an enjoyable experience, has got to be beneficial. Leaving them inspired and feeling good about themselves will also positively affect them in other areas of their life as well.
If you are looking to support your child with learning their times tables this summer and are keen to make it fun, why not click here and find out more about “The 1 Million Times Tables Challenge”
Or if you want to have weekly emails offering techniques you can use to support your child with their maths or English drop me an email and I will make sure you get them.
Either way, I would love to hear your comments below and please do share this post with the people you care about on Twitter or Facebook.