Something we continue to encounter with the families we work with is kids experiencing different anxieties related to school and learning. Some of these anxieties are about the social aspects of school like friendship problems and bullying behaviours, however increasingly we are hearing about anxieties related to the learning and work load aspects of school.
I feel like teachers, kids, young people and their parents have been offering this feedback about how we are expected to learn in Australia’s education systems for some time now and the task to implement significant changes continues to seem too big a task for our governments.
However, watching how our schools and education systems have had to respond and change how they deliver learning through COVID-19 has provided such recent proof that timely changes to learning are possible.
This has had me thinking how can we harness this recent proof that our education system is capable of timely change to better support the different learning needs of kids and young people?
What has this experience taught us about kids capabilities when it comes to adapting to changing environments?
I was watching a TEDx video of Lara Boyd, a Canadian researcher in brain plasticity, and she was saying that with what they now understand about the brain this idea that ‘one size fits all’ has become redundant and we need to keep moving towards ‘personalised learning’.
This idea of ‘personalised learning’ stood out to me because it connects to the idea we work from at SKATTLE that children and young people are constantly developing their own set of unique skills and ways of coping in different environments.
It is our job as the adults in their life to find out what these unique skills are and help children and young people become more aware of their own unique skills and knowledge. Often these are being developed subconsciously and go unnoticed.
Lara Boyd suggests in her TEDx talk, “study how and what you learn best”. So how can we incorporate some of these smaller questions and ideas into our conversations with kids and young people to make their learning experience a little more personalised and catered to their needs?
Does an over hall of our education system need to be so big or feel so hard to implement or could some of the change start with some of these questions interspersed throughout the day from all adults in kids’ lives.
What could we be asking to understand how each child and young person learns best?
- I noticed you were really engaged in your math homework today. What helped you get it done more easily today compared to other days when it has been trickier?
- Learning something new can be so hard particularly when it doesn’t come as naturally to us as other things. When have you been able to persist or keep going with learning something new that didn’t come easily to you? Who was there? What kept you going?
- How can you use this skill of ‘…………………………..’ more when homework gets hard?
- What was it like doing this assignment? What was hard / easy about it?
It is then how we harness the information we gather from these types of questions to better personalise children and young people’s learning across all areas of their life not just in the classroom, but on the sporting field, in their music lessons, art, friendships and family relationships.
Article written by counsellor Alex Amiet