“Learning is their journey. Let them navigate. Push them to explore. Watch them discover. Encourage their questions. Allow them to struggle. Support their thinking. Let them fly.”
For each and every one of us, the journey of learning is full of ups and downs, success and failure. Life is an expedition of growth and development. It is with great pride and honor we teach and mentor our children, as they lift-off… up, up and away.
Allow them navigate. It’s hard to let go… as a parent, as a teacher. Our desire for our children to succeed and achieve is so great, at times we directly and indirectly attempt to influence the outcome. Some micromanage, persuade, or do the work for them. Giving children the freedom to forge their own path is a more meaningful, rich, and beneficial to them. They may get lost along the way, which can be scary. However, the lesson lies in finding a way to get back on track. Self-navigation is necessary.
Urge them to explore their passions, interests, and solutions to the problems and challenges they face. Life is unpredictable and ever changing. Learning doesn’t always have to occur in a linear pattern, on a ridged timeline or curriculum map. That is not to say we should abandon order or necessary content. The current curriculum, scope and sequence are more deeply enriched through individual exploration. When children can independently make a personal connection or reference to what they are learning they demonstrate true progress… excellent exploration happens naturally.
Observe their discovery. Attentiveness to the way our children uncover the wonder, solve mysteries, develop questions, and form and test a hypothesis helps us to develop insights as teachers and mentors. Rather than developing lessons to prep for testing or drilling skills, use observations to create student inspired activities. We can then provide the best support at the right time. Watching very closely brings their true needs to light. Engaged teaching and mentoring deepens their discovery.
Foster their questions. Student generated questions are the most valuable. They need to learn how to ask the right questions to address the problems and challenges they face. Often they need to thoroughly work through a series of focused questions to develop the best solution. This takes practice. Support the skill of formulating quality questions by example, while insisting they develop their own as well.
Sheltering them from struggle inhibits development. Struggle is an inevitable part of growth and life. It’s outside of our comfort zones we learn and grow the most. Trying to protect children from struggle is a disservice. This is how they develop grit and the ability to persevere. Struggle comes before success, even in the dictionary. By sheltering children we will never see them completely shine.
Encourage their thinking. Be Supportive of their thoughts, perspectives, and insights. Our children need to know that thinking differently and for themselves is the ultimate goal. Critical thinking and problem solving is deep; their individual perspectives differentiate them, making children unique and valuable. When they voice their thoughts and perspectives it is music to our ears… this is the sweet sound of love for learning. When we present opportunities for growth and development that are meaningful, motivating, musical, and personal our children beg for an encore… play on!
Let them fly… they will far exceed your expectations.