Bridging the gap: Turning a non-performer into a willing partner [Archives:2007/1102/Education]

November 12 2007

Bijayalaxmi Mohanty
[email protected]
Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jatni
Orissa, India

Children have a lot of untapped potential. The role of the parents and the teachers is to discover their latent talent, make children aware of their capabilities and put them in the driver's seat. This would trigger the sparks of creativity in them and make them motivated, focused, purposeful, enthusiastic, capable of overcoming barriers to learning and become willing partners of the learning enterprise. To put it briefly and succinctly, we have to instill in them that drive, that positive stress which is the fuel that would drive them to success.

When children become active learners, they show it through the different traits in their behavior, some of which are as follows:

– They invariably harbor an open keen and sensitive mind, willingly assimilating whatever they experience in their environment.

– They enjoy every bit of new knowledge they grasp and zealously add it on to whatever previous knowledge they had on the subject.

– They feel physically fit and fine to direct their energy to the goal they have set for themselves.

– They are not too self-conscious and are not frightened of making mistakes.

– They are focused and do not easily lose their concentration.

– They have a good measure of self-confidence to approach any task with a positive attitude.

– They are not plagued by a sense of inferiority complex. They don't compare themselves with others. In fact, they feel themselves to be unique.

– They have learnt to take responsibility and face the challenge with verve and vigor.

– They feel involved in learning which appears to be the highest goal of their life.

– They periodically introspect and try to learn from their experience.

Making children motivated, involved and goal-oriented in the act of learning is, by no means an easy task. Once this task is accomplished, a good beginning is made which is as good as achieving half of the job. As parents and teachers, our objective should be to give the initial push, and set the ball in motion after which the ball will roll itself.

Learning is a hard experience. As long as the learner is not enthusiastic to learn, he undergoes an inertia of rest. Our aim is to break this state of inertness and activate him, energize him and make him experience the joy of learning.

More often children become unwilling partners in the learning enterprise because they have a poor self-concept and don't feel they can get along well with their classmates or the teacher. Parents can do a lot to break the ice and make the child learn how to cooperate with other people in a variety of situations. Children will learn best if they are confident of parent's love, sense of purpose and support. In order to achieve this parents need to establish a free and relaxed relationship with children by working together and learning together.

Learning is more than the individual responsibility of the child alone. As a matter of fact, it is a family business. So it is important that there is a collective effort and commitment from all the family members, let alone the parents.

Every child has a distinctive learning style which parents need to understand. So it is important to discover the child's rhythm and decide how that rhythm can fit into the family's pace. However, it is very important to set boundaries and not to overdo things. Parents should set a small task at one time and encourage the child to complete it. Parents need to discuss with the child

– how he is going to do the task in the time available

– check his progress at each sage

– give encouragement to concentrate on the task at hand and set aide the difficulties to be clarified later

– congratulate him on his success

Most things to do with learning are really common sense. So parents should go slow to go fast. That's how parents power can be best harnessed and parents can be a catalyst to make the child a willing partner in the act of learning.