It’s incredibly important for children to develop curiosity, confidence and problem solving skills throughout their school years - habits that encourage them to learn on a daily basis, and become lifelong learners. The rise of ‘grade hysteria’ puts pressure on parental expectations and on pupils to be at the top of the class, all to secure their academic future. This often leads to grades being prioritised over skills, and there can be a temptation to provide an overly supportive ‘hand holding’ culture which can ultimately lead to an over-dependency on tutors, and less focus on learning.
In the article, Clare Preston, Director of Education Studies at Carfax Education shares some useful tips that can help parents mentor their children to be curious, independent, self-motivated, and skilled learners. Role Play Focus on a topic they are learning in school, and ask your child to 'role play' as a teacher. At Carfax, we encourage our pupils to pick out the key points and do some extra research on these areas, ready to answer a range of questions that the tutor might pose. Role play creates interactive learning, and ensures children are engaging with the material, and are applying their new knowledge outside of the context in which they are learning. Problem Solving
For Maths, you could test whether your child has understood the concept learnt in school, by giving them a problem to solve independently. For this step, your child can hold a pen or pencil, and the parent remains silent until their work is complete - like a mini test. This encourages children to think out loud and share their workings as they go along, a skill often needed in school entrance interviews. Encourage Learning Beyond the Curriculum We try to encourage our pupils to look beyond the curriculum, whether that's suggesting interesting books, news articles, local art galleries and museums, or even Netflix documentaries. For older children in particular, we use real-life case studies and approach them from a problem-based perspective. This builds confidence and allows pupils to connect new content to their pre-existing knowledge like building blocks. The Five-Minute Rule Children who are reluctant to work without support might need the five-minute rule. Ask your child to work on a task for five minutes before they can ask any questions – something must be on the paper before the time is up, and in those first five minutes there are no wrong answers.
Likewise, set a race against a timer for your child to answer a question. It can be a competitive family, and you can compare answers afterwards. Just don’t forget to go back and review their work.
Encourage their curiosity and mistakes; this will ensure your child understands the value and importance of learning, over and above achieving high grades. These activities instil confidence in children, and allows them to trust their own judgment and reduce the anxiety of not knowing the right answer.
These skills are the attributes of a lifelong learner and are key to setting a child up for academic success.