How do children learn ?

Often in gatherings or casual meetings at home, we see parents taking the occasion as an opportunity for showcasing their child’s learning. Be it in the form of rhymes, dance, a narration or even some hand created artwork. I am yet to see parents, whose eyes do not swell with pride when, their children receive the appreciation. While it is clear that schools are established with the clear aim of providing excellent opportunities for learning in a holistic environment, there are several grey areas to measure ‘how and at what level’ is learning actually taking place.

In the recent arena we are talking about taking learning beyond the classroom, beyond examinations and beyond entrances. This paves path for application of learning and making it relevant for children in the real world.

Hands on learning

It is one thing to know what you are eating and how to eat and there is an all-together a different aspect of learning which entails you to know how, what you are eating, is made up of. At what temperature is it cooked? Where was the origin of the dish? Classroom strategies are focussing on learning by doing or the hands on learning so that the children understand what goes behind in the making.

Experiential learning

To know about rural and urban development from pictures and text is a world far off the real scenario. Children have gained better sense of understanding when they actually experience a rural civilisation by visiting a village and interviewing natives. Experiential learning enables children to learn by experiencing the subject in its most natural form. 

Nature as catalyst

Knowing the winter clothes and summer clothes by name and to be able to sketch them on paper is better illustrated with reasoning when children experience the body needs outside in the open. The role of nature in learning cannot be undermined as; just by being close to the nature and observing the environment, children gain greater insights.

When a teacher designs a lesson, it is indeed imperative to note that in several cases the outcomes differ from the objectives. While the objective of the lesson can be for children to learn about animals in the cold region, often a bi-product could be an outcome where children learn about fur clothing and get awakened about skinning. The teachers however do plan the ‘big’ idea and what can branch out of from that, but it is interesting to note, that by making learning participative, research based and experimental, children explore a world full of new things.

Lastly, as a firm believer of mindfulness, I advocate that all experiences that we have in life are the best teachers we can ever have. During play, meal time or even in solitude while reading a book, children go through several moments of emotions and thoughts brimming to be brought out.  As facilitators, parents or guardians it is our responsibility to understand these thoughts and feelings that children have and give them a nurturing response that give them a direction or open a door for them to venture and seek knowledge.


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