The high school English teacher I work with said to me today, “Let’s go where the learners are”, meaning we should follow the kids in the classroom that show their interest in learning, and then try to teach them whatever it is they are able to receive. This creates a culture in the classroom, of learning.
I know this might sound complicated but really I think it is what we do as parents all the time. When my toddler brings me a book, I see that it is time to read. He is showing me that he is ready to learn about reading even if it is only to hear the story. Do it enough times and more things, things we are not even counting on, are being learned as well. Things like our ability to be close, or how stories are composed, or that Dr. Seuss is an artist and an author, or that sometimes parents fall asleep reading books, or that sentences can be constructed lots of different ways. Frequently my piano students are eager to show me what they have learned over the intervening week….ripe to learn more. “Show me,” I say, and I let them lead the learning right off the bat.
There is little way for us to know for sure what our kids learn when we attempt to teach them, so why worry about it. Let’s just go where the learners are, and offer what we have with the hope they will benefit.
All of this creates a culture of learning and of caring about kids, teaching our children to value and embrace our authority.