Happy Friday everyone!
What a week it has been, I think we have seen every season, including snow in the tops of the fells and some excessive winds on Monday’s bank holiday! I trust everyone has enjoyed this shorter school week and embraced the opportunities for learning offered in all our classes.
This week I wanted to speak to parents about one of the key ways they can help their child to learn better in school. We know that basic things are important: ensuring your child gets enough sleep; preparing meals to encourage healthy eating habits and managing their social and online lives to keep them safe. These key factors are important, but alongside this, parents and carers have a role in helping children to have a positive attitude and self-belief.
Learning is an active process. Children (and adults!) have to engage with it, for it to happen. If this were not the case, we would be able to make everyone a genius by opening their brains and pouring information inside.
Teachers and support staff spend their careers developing and honing their skills to maximise the learning of students using different techniques and methods. When children are active and positive about themselves as learners, this process is easier and more successful. In school we believe that almost anything is possible and we embrace a positive mindset to tackle any problem.
So, If a child says ‘I can’t do maths’
We might say, ‘Let’s look at this together, which parts are you unsure about? or ‘ I think you have done problems like this one before, how did you do it last time?’ or ‘what can we use to help solve this problem?’
Implicit in all these responses, is the belief that the child has the knowledge and the tools to solve the problem themselves and we believe that they can do so. This positive conversation empowers the child and helps them to engage their brain with the problem, rather than let doubt and disinterest creep in.
Every time a child tackles a problem or practices a new skill they make new connections in the brain. These new links make it easier to solve similar problems or enhance their skills when the opportunity arises again. Each time we do something, we get better at it. If we are over-helped or not encouraged to ‘have a go’ then we miss the learning opportunity and the chance to make links inside the brain. A positive mindset is therefore critical to learning.
As parents and carers, you can help by encouraging your children to be resilient and ‘have a go’ when things are challenging. You can be a positive role model yourselves by avoiding negative comments regarding school work and your own experiences. For example, even if you found maths challenging when you were at school, please avoid saying ‘ I was awful at maths too, you must take after me’, when your child is finding a piece of work difficult. It might be better to tell your child ‘I know you can do this, let’s see if we can tackle this problem one piece at a time’.
Thank you as ever for supporting your child with their learning, enjoy your weekend.