“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-4
It was great to host members of The Association of Private Schools in Chiangrai, Thailand, at the primary school this morning. They have been visiting international schools in Hong Kong and China over the last few days to see what they can learn from the way these school operate.
One thing the visitors kept asking me this morning was “how do you get your children to be so eager to learn and be so happy”. As we toured the classrooms and they spoke to the stu-dents, they commented about how different NIS students were to students in the other international schools they visited in Hong Kong. Our students showed them that they were motivated to learn and find out more. Students in each class proudly showed the visitors their work and confidently explained to them what they had learnt by doing the work. The visitors were amazed that despite all the hard work that was being undertaken in the classrooms, the students were extremely happy and friendly, and enjoyed their time at school.
The Greek word “philomath” literally means “a lover of learning”. Developing a love of learning in students is a significant focus of the NIS approach to teaching. We believe that if a student loves learning, then it is much easier to guide them to learn well. Also, if a student loves learning, then their study is no longer a chore, but something that they eagerly approach each day with joy.
As parents, we can also do a lot to help our children to become philomaths and love learning. The following is a summary of a great article that is available at www.parents.com, entitled “Raising Kids Who Love to Learn”, which gives some great tips for parents on this topic:
1. Share Your Passions—Talk to your child about interesting things you’ve learned, whether the subject is sports, science, art, or cooking, suggests Deborah Stipek, Ph.D., dean of Stanford University’s School of Education, in California, and coauthor of Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning (Owl Books, 2001). “If you read an intriguing article or watched an educational program, tell your kids about it.” Explain in simple terms what happened and why you found it so interesting. Your kids will sense your fascination even if they can’t fully understand the topic. And you’ll be sending the message that learning doesn’t end with childhood.
2. Surround Her with Books—Harvard University researchers have found that consistent access to books can increase a child’s motivation to read. What’s more, a U.S. Department of Education study reveals that the most proficient readers tend to be kids whose homes are stocked with many different types of reading materials, such as newspapers, magazines, books, and encyclopedias. To foster your child’s affection for reading, keep books within easy reach — by the kitchen table, next to her bed, in a basket by the couch, and in the car. Let your toddler flip through old issues of magazines, even if she ends up tear-ing the pages. Set aside a special time to read together each day. Talk about the story and ask your child what she thinks is going to happen next. Active participation boosts her understanding and keeps read-ing fun.
3. Build Your Child’s Natural Interests—A University of Chicago study of exceptionally high-achieving athletes and artists found that the common denominator among these gifted individuals was their hav-ing parents who early on recognized the child’s interest and provided
4. Know When to Back Off—After interviewing hundreds of parents, Dr. Ryan and his colleagues found that those who have the most motivated children didn’t micromanage or pressure their kids. “They aren’t the type to jump in and say, ‘You’re doing that wrong; let me do it for you,’ ” he says. “Instead, they let their children figure things out for themselves, while still showing their support.” By overcoming challenges on her own — whether a jigsaw puzzle or a math problem — your child gains a sense of com-petence, something that all enthusiastic learners share, Dr. Stipek adds. Her research found that middle-school kids enjoy subjects more as their competence increases. “You’re more likely to want to do the ac-tivities you feel you’re good at.”
5. Ask the Right Questions—Your child probably fires dozens of questions at you every day. But turning things around and posing some to him can fuel his excitement for learning. For instance, asking, “Why do you think the birds always come back to that same spot in the backyard?” can spark a conversation that introduces a variety of interesting concepts. If you don’t know the answer, look it up. If your child is curious about something, take the time to explain it to her. But if you don’t have a clue either, it’s per-fectly all right to say, “I don’t know. Let’s find out.” Turn to a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or the Internet, and do some detective work together. “You’re showing her not only how to find more information but also how thrilling it can be to learn new things,” Dr. Stipek says.
6. Avoid Rewards—Numerous studies suggest that offering kids a prize for doing something, whether it’s reading a book or completing homework, can actually undermine their pleasure in the activity. Why? The focus shifts from the learning process to the reward, says Alfie Kohn, author of Punished by Re-wards (Houghton Mifflin, 1999). Without the sticker, the ice cream, or another treat, the child no longer wants to do the activity, even if it was something she used to truly enjoy. “Kids learn best when they’re able to act on their natural curiosity about the world,” Kohn says. “Rewards and prizes tend to under-mine that.”
7. Focus on the Process Not the Outcomes—”Many parents are too achievement-oriented and focused on the future,” Dr. Wlodkowski says. It’s an easy trap to fall into: You worry about how your toddler will do in preschool, and when she’s a preschooler, you wonder if she’s cut out for kindergarten. Though it’s natural to want to prepare your child for what’s ahead, you may unwittingly push her to learn too much too quickly, or place too much emphasis on her accomplishments. “If your goal is to foster a love of learning, it’s far better to take an interest in what your child is doing rather than how well she’s doing it,” Kohn says. “Your continued interest in her activities is the best motivator of all.”
Read the full article at: http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/intellectual/raising-kids-who-love-to-learn/