We all want our kids to do well at school. We also want our kids to be passionate and engaged in their learning. I’m sure there are times when you’d like to help them with their schoolwork, teach them something new, tap into or ignite their passion. Do you know how?
My work in education over the past few decades–and now my much more challenging work as a parent–has taught me a few things about how people learn and the circumstances under which our kids enjoy school.
It all comes down to this: people think about things they care about. That’s right—our emotions direct all learning. So, we need to engage emotions to learn. To do that we need to tap into their IMAGINATIONS. This wakes up emotion every time.
Whether you are teaching your kids something totally new, helping them with their homework, or hoping to reignite their passion for learning use the following Tools of the Imagination to engage their emotions:
1. Embed information within a “story-form”. This simply means, tell it like a reporter would–pique interest. Shape the topic so it’s emotionally engaging (employing a story-form does not necessarily mean creating fictions!)
2. Sing it. Clap it. Dance it.
3. Draw mind pictures. Use words to describe an idea/concept in way that creates a picture in the mind. (Play! What would it feel like to become this thing?)
4. Move! Use the body to convey an idea (e.g. a gesture or a movement or facial expression)
5. Identify patterns. Are there commonalities that stand out?
6. Puzzle over mysteries in the topic.
7. Notice what is super bizarre, weird, extreme or exotic about a topic.
8. Think about the topic as if it was a SUPERHERO–what would its super power be?
9. Seek uniqueness–what aspect of the topic evokes your sense of wonder? (in other words, how is this topic less ordinary than extraordinary?)
10. Organize information in different visual ways–charts, tables, webs, VENN diagrams, flowcharts, graphs etc.
11. Find the human stories linked to topics–what person lives/breathes the topic now or did in the past?
12. Change the context: Role play! What part of the topic can your kid become to help them remember or understand?
13. Play. If this topic was a game of tag (or a board game or some other game) what would the rules be?
14. Engage their inner rebel–what kinds of controversies are involved in this topic?
15. Get involved. How could your child actually experience the topic/issue? How could s/he make a difference?
That’s just a start. These tips are examples of an imagination-focused way of teaching called Imaginative Education. Each of these TIPS comes with a lot of suggestions and support—all FREE to explore at imaginED in our Tools of Imagination Series. Visit -> http://gillianjudson.edublogs.org/tips-for-imaginative-educators/
If I could sum up what it takes to help your kids learn anything it is this: To get kids interested in a topic, you have to think like a kid. Your kid. Check out my list—or get more ideas from imaginED—www.educationthatinspires.ca
What would pique your kid’s interest?