There’s probably nothing more gratifying, as a teacher, than seeing students develop a love of learning. When young students display an eagerness to understand, and desire to know more, we know that we’ve done our jobs. Some kids have a natural inclination to learn, and others may have a more lackadaisical approach to school. So, what can you do to get your students engaged, motivated, and excited about learning? Here are some Harmony tips:
Share Your Love of Learning
It’s important for students to know that learning is invaluable, and even necessary, at any stage of life. In a Meet Up, share a personal experience in which you learned something new as an adult or as a teacher. For example, discuss a book you read, a documentary you saw, or a person you met, and what you learned and why that was important to you. Invite students to ask you questions about this learning. When you share that you learn new things too, you become part of your classroom’s learning community. In another Meet Up, you can have students begin to share their learning experiences also.
Make it Fun
One of the best ways to get students to love learning, is to teach in a way in which they don’t even realize that they are learning. Get your students moving around and playing physically. Play thinking games. Invent games and let students invent games. Make sure every game has a learning goal and make that goal explicit to the kids. Just make it fun! Use a wide variety of open-ended, multi-sensory materials so that children, with teacher input, can see everyone has different learning styles.
Teach a Lesson on Learning
Let kids know that learning can be difficult, but when new learning is produced, not only the learning but the effort it took to get there will be evident. During a Meet Up, tell your students about a time it was challenging for you to learn something new (i.e., new computer technology or riding a bike). Also, invite students to discuss some challenges they have experienced in learning.
Offer Praise for Effort
When students are praised for their effort (not just the end result), they begin to understand how learning works. This positive reinforcement encourages students to continue to try, and enjoy the process.
Change the Variable
Add just one new/different material in the classroom periodically so that children have new items to experiment with and use. This will make the classroom not so familiar or predictable and will challenge children to think of new ways to work.
If we want independent, self-reliant children who are able to direct their own lives, we need to give kids the learning tools and knowledge necessary. This requires challenge and loving direction. It’s important to teach that the process of learning is something that will benefit them their whole lives, and is a process they can make all their own. Follow some of our tips, and let us know if you have any of your own.