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Unleash the Force of Learning

Unleash the Force of Learning

Nina Smith

Every child has a deep inborn curiosity about the surrounding world. This is the driving force behind all real learning. We all are born with a need to experience life and make sense of what we see, hear and feel. And we use the information we gather from our everyday lives to construct our understanding about ourselves, the life, universe and everything.

Let’s face it: there is an enormous power and capacity for learning lying inside every student. Every child born is equipped with tools for learning to make sense of the world around them. Just think what all is accomplished during the first 30 or 40 months after birth!

Through purposeful play children experience the thrill of genuine achievement and this makes early learning a memorable adventure and one they will wish to repeat. Depending on the feedback they receive about their explorations children will either continue to the direction they are headed, or venture into something else.

Of course the play and learning become much more complicated when children grow and add the social factors and internalized norms and values into learning. Sometimes those values are very much against genuine learning. But the original driving force, the need to make sense, still exists.

So, here is the task for us as educators: how to tap into that force, and make it work for us instead of against us.

Force to learn is an inborn phenomenon, and being able to go with that flow makes teaching and learning easy and enjoyable. Providing timely and reliable feedback convinces students that they are on the right track and therefore they are driven to find out more. And this is also the basic recipe for strengthening intrinsic motivation.

Providing different options for learning tasks takes the culmination point away from the power struggle (you must do this because I say so), and allows students follow their own passion and also learn how to choose wisely (this is equally true with High School students and the “terrible-two-year-old”), yet staying within the limits of curriculum or frame of reference.

Changing the focus from ordering students to learn into letting them choose what (or how) they want to learn unleashes the force for deep learning (because very few of us actually enjoy doing things we are told to do- of course this also depends on the way the order is given, but mostly we want to imagine having free will.

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