Children don’t learn like adults. You must understand that first, if you are a parent or an educator.
I posted a video on the psychology of learning here:
We can’t expect children to understand how education will lead to a better future. They cannot connect those dots. They are not forward-thinking yet. Many adults are not either, yet we expect children to sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher in the front of the room discuss biology and algebraic equations. I loved math and solving equations growing up. Most children did not, however. I also didn’t like a lot of other subjects. It’s easy to get someone to excel in something they like. The real challenge is getting children to learn in subjects they don’t know they like…YET. Every subject has valuable application in the world. I can assure you it does. However, communicating that to a youngster is where the challenge is. Children don’t understand the concept that if they delay gratification and excel in school, they will have more job opportunities. Education is the quickest way to increase your quality of life. Asian-Americans, namely from China and India, have excelled at stressing education in the home. In one generation they changed their economic outcome. It will always come from the home. That is why those two groups of people are dominating the academic scene. Harvard just announced that they are putting a cap on how many Asian-Americans are allowed in similar to what they did with Jewish-Americans years ago.
The Asian-Americans usually do get their children to excel in school by restricting their freedoms. For instance, they will take away the idea of sports so that they can be studying at home with a tutor during that time instead. I don’t believe in the concept of doing something by punishment. I believe that has a boomerang effect in the long run. We want to teach our children to get hungry on the idea of learning, not associate pain there.
I believe we can do that by creating a reward system. You must find out what your child does value. Maybe your child wants to have a sleepover over the weekend. Maybe he wants to play on the travel soccer team. Maybe she wants a new bag that everyone is talking about. Maybe he wants a new video game console. We, as adults, make money and we buy things we value. We understand the concept of ‘make more money to get it’. It’s clear in our minds what we have to do. It’s not so clear in children’s minds. The exact same idea must be communicated to our children. If they want things they value, they have to work for them. A good way to do this is through a reward/punishment system where they determine their own fate. You communicate to your child that if you get a B on this test, you get so and so, but if you get an A you get THIS. If you don’t get above a B, you can’t go on that trip this weekend. Pull them with the idea of something that they really want.
I would particularly like to see education reform taking into account the application of things as well. Children are curious and they are interested. They are smarter than we give them credit for, but they think differently. We need to tap into their interests. From there, we have leverage. Once we understand what they want or are interested in, we can teach based on their interests. If they are fascinated by space, well, it’s very easy to teach them science and math because those are two critical subjects that play a major role in the exploration of space. Let’s start with education reform in the home by applying these concepts. You must take an active role in your child’s life.