“The key to Learning is Freedom”, but what does that really mean? It means, having the freedom to learn WHAT we want to learn and HOW we want to learn it, for each of us, which includes our children. The WHAT and HOW is controlled in classrooms, which it has to be to a certain extent as there’s lots of people, little time and stretched resources, however, the same need not be true for learning outside of school.
WHAT does your child want to learn about that doesn’t get addressed at their school? HOW does your child learn best?
If your child can’t tell you then you’ll need to find out through observation. We can find out a lot about our children when we watch and listen.
Having the freedom to learn helps your child become a lifelong learner, which will assist their life long term… as nothing in life is guaranteed and we all have times of reassessing what we do and how we’ll do it and we certainly don’t enjoy other people making those choices for our lives. Being a tutor is about assisting someone else’s learning by supporting, demonstrating and eventually becoming redundant. To tutor means to help a learner learn how to tutor themselves… even to teach themselves. We want our children to become independent of us… to live their own life, make their own way, do their own washing!
The freedom to learn in a class is not and can not be present; learning is compulsory or the student is punished. Learn and you are rewarded, which is also about not being free to learn, as students learn to work for an external goal, rather than focussing on the learning alone; learning for learning’s sake.
Students wait for the teacher to teach and they are trained NOT to teach themselves. Tutoring is giving back power, and the desire, to learn, for themselves by themselves. How many times do you hear the excuse “but the teacher didn’t tell us to ….” when you know your child should have proceeded without having to be told? Or “but the teacher told us to do it this way” when you yourself were taught another, better, easier, faster way? Does it feel like a battle between you and their teacher? Do you feel they have more control over your child’s learning than your child has over their own learning? Or even YOU over your child?
Did you know that YOU are legally responsible for your child’s education, not the school? Did you know that school isn’t even compulsory, only receiving an education is compulsory. You are using the school, you’re not suppose to ‘feel used.’
Did you know that the vast majority of teachers are in love with learning and dearly love children who want to learn, but the system and procedures of a classroom prevent them from teaching according to the very best standards? Standards and methods that have been well researched and documented, such as individual learning plans, multiple intelligences, real world experiential learning, self-correcting hands on manipulatives etc. Your child’s teacher/s should be your partner/s. They are with your child for a significant portion of their waking life for 13 years. Yes they are busy, yes you may still ‘fear teachers’ yourself, but if they didn’t like children they wouldn’t do the job. They don’t want to be feared, they want the children to learn. If you need their feedback then approach them and get it. It will help your child AND the teacher long term.
Assist, support, encourage, praise enough to keep them wanting to learn, however, the ultimate aim is to become redundant as your student, your child, rediscovers the ‘freedom to learn’ they had prior to attending school. As they do, they may view schools a little differently. You may too. Schools are NOT the only place where learning occurs, sometimes they even make it harder to learn, but here is a trick for you, if you encourage your child to learn ANYTHING outside of school (sport, art, music etc) and it’s something they love it will increase their desire to learn, their grades in school improve, as they transfer those ‘how to learn’ skills into their schooling.
Conversely if you force your child to learn something they don’t want to learn, thereby further limiting their freedom, their desire to learn reduces and their performance at school also goes down.
“Learning is the key to freedom” because if you can learn anything, you have no restrictions to what you can experience and that’s a liberating thought.