Get Out of Their Way: Reigniting the Yearn to Learn!

Neil DeGrasse Tyson advised, if you want children to be interested in science, get out of their way!  It was abrupt, but so true.  

This morning, I was reading a discussion from one of my LinkedIn groups and the headline was: As children get older, they lose interest in school. Why?

Here’s one umpire’s opinion-

I believe the way we approach education today gets in the way of learning.  We are so busy trying to make sure kids are moving along the education treadmill at the designated speed (which only seems to be validated through filling in bubbles on tests), we’re beating that natural “yearn to learn” right out of them.   
Imagine if we tested toddlers as they’re learning to walk...  I’m sorry Simon, but you toddled one too many times.  Now try it again.  No, no!  Lead with your right foot.  There, that’s better...  This morning you made it around the coffee table holding on.  This time, I want you to walk across the room without any assistance!  Hmmm... I’m sorry, that is partially proficient.  We need to practice more... You can have your nap after we finish this little obstacle course I plotted for you...  I don’t understand...the book says you should be able to do this now.  

OK, you get the idea.  

We were out to dinner with friends the other night and the husband asked, “What do you consider the best way to get kids excited about learning?”  Without a moment’s hesitation I said, “Socratic Seminar and project-based learning!”  (I'm not sure what he thought I was going to say, but he was visibly shocked.  I even got a high five out of him!)

Learning is a fluid process.  We are not assembling cars, where every inch of the process must follow lockstep in order for them to work, and the end product looks the same. We are charged with helping children grow intellectually. Yes, there are necessary skills required; but getting kids involved in the process, connecting to real-life, real-world issues is what must happen if we plan to reignite their yearn to learn. 

So, my friends, be brave.  Dare to turn off that brain-numbing treadmill and let your kids explore. Pull out those activities you know incite their curiosity and creative juices. Then, get out of their way!

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”  Plutarch

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