Give a taste to teach children

Today's children often experience school as, at best, a chore, at worst, a nightmare. The fear of "not being able to do it" is a great response to parental and school pressure. How do you (re) give them the desire to learn? Answers from pedagogues.

Christilla Pellé-Douël

Let's first remember who we are

Motivating our children already supposes to change our gaze on them. To do this, let's take a look at our own relationship with the school. "I regularly see parents who subconsciously demand redress from their children, who must succeed where they have failed," says Audrey Akoun , cognitive-behavioral therapist, specialized in pedagogy. Let's step aside and give them a benevolent look, which gives them the right to error, to hesitation. For example, when a child says "I do not know," Audrey Akoun and Isabelle Pailleau1, a clinical psychologist specializing in methods of work and learning, suggest this sentence: "Put the question to your brain and wait for it. Please answer him, do not jerk him, he does not like it. " There is a good chance that the words arrive a few seconds later, preceded by "Ah, yes, I know!" Let's get out of old patterns, like the one that links work and effort, work and suffering: if we rely solely on these myths, learning may become long and difficult. On the other hand, associating work with pleasure, encouragement and valorization promotes the development and acquisition of knowledge. Let's start from what they like

The joy of understanding, the pleasure of discovering lie outside the school: games, walks, trips, sports, readings, movies, family reunions, everything is "It's about putting the child in an exploratory position," says Audrey Akoun. Because it is gradually, in "network", that our brain works: we memorize and move forward by relying on our acquired references, putting them in touch with new knowledge. Our thinking is arborescent and non-linear. Everything that can feed us intellectually supports learning. No need to aim at cultural "utilitarianism": a film, a book, an anecdote about the kings of France will facilitate the representation. "Starting from subjects he likes, the child realizes that he can learn by taking pleasure, "continues the therapist. Leave room for strolling, fantasy, allows creativity to develop. And then, discovering new things together, children and parents, offers a good way to open a reassuring and fun emotional space.The list is endless: playing billiard, making models, cooking, cycling are all opportunities to use notions of math, chemistry, natural science, physics, geography ... "But not too much when even!" Audrey Akoun warns humorously. Let's stay light and escape the dreadful "educational" outings that end up having the opposite effect.

Do not confuse learning and memorizing

Our educational system is based on two concepts: academic aptitude, that is, the acquired knowledge (for example, reading at the end of CP); and the ability, at the end of studies, to integrate socially (finding a job, making a living, etc.). Learning should not be reduced to that! But, in our great anguish as parents concerned with the "success" of our children, we are increasingly inclined to focus on these goals, to the detriment of the rest. And to forget what nourishes understanding. Because to learn is also to discover, to try, to dare, to imagine, to connect with others, to walk one's body, to play with words, to create. Not just memorize, but, in the words of Audrey Akoun, "catch the world with your heart, your head, your body". However, "from primary school, these needs are denied," she grieves.

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