How do children learn best? Many a times parents come up with this question asking me to suggest methods , on-line sites which can enhance the knowledge, skills and understanding of the child in a particular area of learning.
The answer is simple: Children learn best by ‘doing‘ that is, when they are allowed to explore the possibilities of doing a task. Let me give you an example:You are teaching the child to make lemonade. One method would be to direct the child to use the ingredients and prepare lemonade as you explain the process. The child does as instructed and prepares the best lemonade ever!
Alternatively, you could tell the child, “Let’s prepare some lemonade- what do you think I will need ? The child may say water, lemons, a glass/container. Provide the materials and ask them to proceed. They may squeeze the lemons, you have cut, into the glass of water. Let them taste it and watch their expression- Ask questions like ” What does it taste like? What can you do to make it taste better? Would you like to add any other ingredients? ” You are allowing the child to think thereby developing his cognitive and creative skills as well as problem solving ability. He learns to use all his five senses, measure the ingredients-how much sugar/ salt do I need to add( numeracy skills)? At this point of time you will notice that you are merely facilitating the process through inquiry based questioning.
Next time you are in a hurry to explain an activity or tempted to show the child how it is done – count till 5! Use the inquiry based method – ask open ended / thinking questions. Allow the child express himself. Allow him make mistakes , learn from those mistakes and find alternative solutions to do the task.
You will be amazed to see his /her innovative skills! Happy Learning.:)