Fostering a Positive Learning Environment
We can all appreciate that learning takes place in various forms and in a variety of settings. We can create positive environments to enhance learning for our child at home to consolidate what they have learned at school, to aid them in areas where they might need specific support, and to instill a love of learning. To make it easier for children to follow tasks through, communication and expectations need to be clear. We need to be enthusiastic and creatively look for ways to engage them, even when the task may, at first glance, seem boring. We also need to ensure that the completion of an activity, which they do not particularly enjoy, is followed by one which they do.
In addition to academic skills, development of social skills such as listening, taking turns and dealing with disappointments are also necessary. Those who feel socially connected to their instructors and peers and have more consistently positive experiences are more likely to develop a positive attitude towards learning. Recent studies show that these positive feelings in turn stimulate the frontal lobe, which is responsible for planning, organization, speech and language, emotional regulation, and problem solving.
Often children need help with organisational skills or learning “how to learn.” The good news is that they can be taught how to keep track of assignments and complete them in time by using schedules and to-do lists. Establishing routines has proven to be effective in improving organization. They can be taught note-taking skills to help sort out and review what they are learning. Reading, for instance, forms the basis for learning in most subject areas and is a skill that can improve overall achievement.
In order to address barriers to learning, we need to be good listeners and understand the difficulties that our child may be experiencing. Based on their specific requirements, we might need to break tasks down into manageable segments; praise and reinforce positive behaviour after the completion of each sub-task; extend the amount of time allotted for specific tasks as per the child’s need; record improvement; and reduce or eliminate unnecessary tasks that have already been mastered.
Keeping a track of their progress enables them to feel a sense of accomplishment, which in turn acts as a motivating tool. Finally, establishing a good relationship with your child’s school will promote a positive attitude towards life-long learning.
Aarti Odhrani, School Counsellor
Aarti Odhrani is the School Counsellor at North London Collegiate School Dubai. She works with students, parents, and teachers in the school setting and facilitates individual and group meetings as well as classroom sessions with students to enhance their emotional growth and overall wellbeing. Aarti was born and raised in Dubai and has lived in America and Poland for short durations for educational and family purposes.
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