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1 November 2019

posted 31 Oct 2019, 16:05 by Carolyn Brett
Well, that week went by in a flash! Slow down time, we have a lot more learning to do in 2019 - for the older and younger!

At school I was labelled 'quiet and serious' according to my Primary school reports. (I won't divulge the High School years!) This always makes me giggle and I find myself discussing this with parents who are worried about their children being on the quieter end of the continuum. Now that may indeed change! I think it was more about me always having a strong sense of  responsibility and wanting to 'please the teacher' and always do the right thing. In terms of academic learning, I did well throughout my schooling but I wouldn't say I ever had a major appetite or passion for it until University. It was more about completing the task and handing it in on time and as I got older........ trying to stay out of trouble!

This notion of love of learning is interesting. How do we ignite this passion for learning as evidence shows it's just as important as the learning itself. Neuroscientist Dr Jared Cooney Horvath was recently interviewed on Nine to Noon. I'll give you a bit of a snapshot of some of his main points:
  • Learning comes down to knowledge, context and adaptability
  • Knowledge has become problematic in the age of 'googling'
  • Knowing a fact is different from looking at a fact - if you can't lockdown your fact, you can't use your skill
  • Once a fact is mastered, you can dive into deep learning/contextualisation
  • You then move to adaptability - where you try and adapt your acquired skills to a new situation with practice and effort
  • When skills move from active to automatic, our ability to adapt is harder and harder (think a new innovation + being in a job for a long time)
  • Just as important as this process is one's belief in themselves as a learner (AKA Growth Mindset)
This is the bit that stood out for me - you need to believe that you can learn and you need to know WHY you want to do that
 
"Learning to love learning is one of the most important lessons that can emerge for a student in the education system" says Dr Cooper.

At school, I know that for me there was never a WHY. I just did it. 

Kids really need to engage with the Why, they need to buy into the Why and they need to understand the Why. This isn't always easy and, aIthough I often think we expect children to understand too much too soon and grow up too fast in an adult world, I do think the focus on igniting fire in the bellies, a belief in themselves as a learner, a greater understanding of Why may mean they go to new places in the future. 

When you have your end of year chat with your child's Base Group teacher about progress - I suggest also focusing on the motivation and passion they display for learning. I'm sure it will be in the written report but please don't gloss over this juicy part and just flick to the back page. Please do both. 
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