Do you want your child to feel like every day is new because of the new things he learns or experiences every time? Then, you need to teach him how to become a learner for life. We give you some tips.
By Hannah S Mathew
The process of learning is unending. There are so many wonderful things about the world to learn, with its endless possibilities and numerous advancements in every field of knowledge, that your child can easily become a lifelong learner. However, to be an effective lifelong learner, she needs to have the desire to learn by herself and set goals to stay motivated. Does a local cooking competition interest her? Does she want to upload her song online? Does she want to write for a local magazine? Is she interested in developing a new skill? There will always be numerous opportunities to learn. Whatever she decides, in order to become a lifelong learner, she will need to focus on it.
To introduce the concept of lifelong learning to your child, do the following things:
Nurturing a lifelong learner involves engaging your child in activities to help her learn and giving her a lot of encouragement as she attempts to increase her knowledge and skill sets. Here are some ways to get started.
1. Encourage reading
Introduce your child to a dictionary best suited for his age and capabilities. This will also teach him to be an independent learner and increase his interest in reading.
2. Provide opportunities to teach
As part of a family activity, ask the family to gather around your child for a class. Encourage her to prepare and present something that she has learnt recently at school.
3. Suggest projects
Get him started on an interesting project that enhances your child’s skills. Projects such as vegetable-printing or cooking could help him see himself as a lifelong learner. Ensure that the project is relevant to his age.
4. Increase the range of reading
Introduce your child to a wide variety of topics and authors. Such an exposure will enable her to develop different interests and perspectives.
5. Nurture problem-solving skills
Encourage your child’s ability to think out of the box and allow him to work things out for himself instead of providing quick-fixes. Play problem-solving games like ‘Capture the Flag’ and teach him to accept failure as a step toward success. Ask for his suggestions to solve problems around the house. This will help him develop his problem-solving skills.
6. Get a ‘To-Learn’ list
Buy your child a little notebook in which she can list interesting topics that she comes across and would like to know more about. Whenever she has the time she can refer to the list for topics to learn about.
7. Learn together
Learn a sign language or a foreign language with your child, take music classes together, plan a dramatic five-minute-act with him, study recipes together and more. These are some examples of how you can learn with your child. He will observe your learning style and coping skills, and learn from you in the process.
8. Emphasise on socialising with peers
Get together with other parents who would like to train their children to be lifelong learners. Fix play-dates for your child with these children. It will help her be in the company of others like her. They will be sources of inspiration and sounding-boards for each other.
9. Get ready for questions
Observe your child’s interest areas and equip yourself with information on these subjects to help him find answers to his questions. This will help you guide and direct his learning process and increase his desire to become a lifelong learner.
10. Don’t focus on grades
Like age, grades too are just numbers. Do not be obsessed about it, unless your child is doing very poorly. Grades do not determine future outcomes in life or success in her learning and development. She will benefit more from becoming a lifelong learner.
Children today, live in times where almost everything worth anything is connected to technology in some form or the other. Introduce your child to the virtual world and allow him supervised access to blogs and podcasts, and online archives of books and magazines, and provide him training through online classes and tutorials. Encourage him to use these resources for his school projects and assignments. This will help him get more acquainted with today’s technology.
Life is full of opportunities for your child and, by being a lifelong learner, she will have an advantage over others and find success in life. So, show her how to be an eager learner and explore new concepts by being a role model to her. When she sees you constantly reading and finding ways to better yourself, it will inspire her to become a lifelong learner.
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Hannah S Mathew