How Dynamic Learning can Redefine your Child’s Education Experience
By Maui Reyes
As parents, we’re always looking for ways to make learning fun and effective for our children so that they are able to reach their full potential and grow up exceptional. And while school plays an important role in teaching our little ones their ABCs and 123s, we parents take on the teaching role before and after the classroom bell rings.
Sometimes, this teaching is done unconsciously and through day-to-day activities. Like when you read aloud to your toddler and you set a crucial foundation for literacy skills. Or when you pick your pre-schooler up from yet another tumble off the bike, and you teach lessons of determination and perseverance. And when you nurture confidence in your primary schooler through the conviction that he/she can conquer all fears to participate in the school concert.
Other times, we continue the school learning process outside of those four classroom walls, mostly through homework, assignments or extra classes. However, by doing this, too often we fall in line with what is known as “static learning”. This is a “one-and-done” type of learning, which may translate into a routine of memorizing textbooks, writing essays, and filling out worksheets for each subject.
However, for our children to be truly prepared to take on their future and successfully, this kind of learning alone is not enough. We also need to foster skills in our children such as curiosity, critical thinking, creativity and confidence. Their bodies need to be nourished too, with adequate physical activity and a balanced diet.
Luckily, parents who are wondering how best to teach their kids outside of the classroom, need not look any further than the “dynamic learning method.”
Nurture an Exceptional Child through Dynamic Learning Methods
Dynamic learning is characterized by change, activities, and progress . It goes beyond textbooks and “one-and-done” worksheets and activities. With dynamic learning, your child is not limited to a worksheet, an online video, or even a term paper submission deadline.
Through dynamic learning, children are encouraged to learn through exploration, both in and out of the classroom. And while it’s much more fun than static learning, it actually helps students grasp subjects easier. It teaches them independence , encourages critical thinking, and enhances their creativity skills. Plus, it promotes physical activity!
How to create a dynamic learning environment for your child
1. Keep them interested even outside the classroom.
Learning shouldn’t be confined to the four walls of the classroom. Let your little one know that he/she can learn things anytime, anywhere. Bring your toddler to the grocery for a lesson in art by having him/her see the different colours at the produce aisle. Your preschooler can be brought to a park to see how the sun gives life to plants, humans, and animals. Your primary schooler can point out patterns on buildings that could form geometric patterns. Once your child understands that learning is a mindset and not something confined to the classroom, he/she will be able to teach him/herself how to “self-learn”, making him/her an independent little problem-solver. (In fact, dynamic teaching environments produce more independent students: 70-80% of the work is done by students, with only lectures doing 20-30% of the work.)
2. Encourage creativity.
Remember the drawing of the boa constrictor eating an elephant in The Little Prince, which adults thought was just a hat? Children are wildly creative, and it’s important to preserve this magic. In his TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity”, cultural leader Sir Kenneth Robinson pointed out that “ creativity is as important as education.” This can be as simple as getting your toddler to paint with his/her fingers, or create shapes with clay. Have your preschooler complete an art project, or even play dress-up . Or how about creating a cardboard challenge with some neighbourhood kids where he/she gets to explore what awesome things can be built using just cardboard boxes? Dedicate an hour a day for your child to explore his/her passions and interests—this is most crucial for kids of primary school age, who may have more academic work to deal with during school days.
3. Feed their interests.
Communication is key when it comes to dynamic learning. Learn to pick up cues as to what interests your child. Did your little one mention how he/she thinks soccer might be a fun activity? Did your child say he/she thinks astronauts have the coolest job? Talk to your child about why he/she likes certain things, and encourage his/her curiosity by supporting it. Sign your child up for soccer workshops, or plan a trip to a space museum. Remember: learning is a constant thing that doesn’t only take place in the classroom!
4. Make use of connections.
We’re fortunate enough to be raising our children in a digital age, which brings the world closer together. Think about how you can use your own connections—both local and global—in helping your child learn. Maybe you’re friends with an athlete who can encourage your child to take up a sport, or a cousin scientist your little one can interview for a project. Help your child to broaden his/her world through connections with important people beyond school.
5. Never mind the deadlines.
Worksheets and school papers are notorious for being “one-and-done” activities: once they’re submitted, students move on to the next topic. But what if your child stumbles upon something that really kindles his/her interests? Homework such as “My Family Tree” or “What I want to be when I grow up” are excellent jump-off points to teach your child more about him/herself and the world. Keep the conversation and research going! Instead of just finishing a worksheet to meet a deadline, let your child keep researching and learning as much as possible about the subject.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that dynamic and static learning go hand in hand. The key is to find a healthy balance between both, in order to raise an independent, self-confident and exceptional child.