Now, suddenly, a virus has closed the schools and canceled all those after-school activities that have kept our children so busy. Suddenly, children have time to fill and the opportunity to figure out for themselves how to fill it. A pandemic is a terrible thing; we don’t want to pretend it isn’t. Many children as well as adults are suffering. But for many children this pause in adult-controlled activities is a blessing.
Some are reading books for pleasure or interest, which is far more beneficial educationally than reading what they are forced to read. And families are rediscovering the joys of playing games or reading aloud together, or just being together without the usual obligations.
What we have here, ideally, and it could be really, is a reset button, a button that could renew our understanding of children’s true needs. The pandemic-induced closures provide an opportunity for a “market correction” of the educational and parenting kind.
We adults might learn—or acknowledge, as most of us already know it—that much of the time that children spend in school is wasted. What they learn and remember could have been learned in far less time, especially if, during non-school time they were granted opportunity to exercise their own curiosity, imagination, and creativity.
Psychologists have long known that children construct knowledge (i.e., learn) through direct and active engagement guided by their own interests within their environment. What children memorise as passive participants in school lessons is quickly forgotten.
Let’s not obsess over digital lessons sent home from schools. Instead, let’s watch and be amazed as children create their own lessons. Let’s watch their literacy blossom in messages written with chalk on sidewalks, witness their calculations of lengths for boards as they construct a tree house, be amazed as they act out their own dramas inspired by favorite books or films, and marvel at the skills and patience they develop trying to get the worm they found while digging in the dirt to crawl onto a stick. And for heaven’s sake, let’s allow them to know what it feels like to be outside on a spring day doing nothing.
For the next few weeks, let’s observe children’s genius as they play and direct their own learning. Then let’s come back together in school, not to plunge into a frenzied game of catch-up, but to proceed thoughtfully with balance. A balance that lets children be children and allows our competent educators to collaborate with them in creating learning paths that respect the full complement of social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.
Let’s support children’s natural ways of learning rather than suppress them. A renewed commitment to children’s self-directed pursuits will allow their creativity, ingenuity, confidence, and useful knowledge to flourish.
Article Source: https://www.ajc.com/blog/get-schooled/opinion-don-obsess-over-digital-lessons-let-children-create-own-lessons/7ehJRnKzz0UcHJwVvRXzaN/
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