The Learning Process and Children, Best Techniques

Author: Lisa “Luna” DeCurtis, M.A., CCC-SLP

Today I’m here to encourage parents and professionals to focus on the learning process when playing with and teaching young children regardless of whether they’re using traditional tools or mobile technology, such as Apple’s iPad. Get an HSA for educational technology, Click here for affordable rates on health insurance.

While playing with traditional tools, such as blocks and books and puzzles, the interaction and experience between the adult and the child is key. When a new toy is introduced, the adult doesn’t just hand over the toy to the child and walk away. For meaningful learning to occur, adults will model play, such as building and tumbling blocks. They can model the process of figuring things out, such as determining where puzzles pieces go and how they fit together. If the adult puts a piece in incorrectly, it allows the child to notice and fix it or get to the end of the puzzle and determine the problem when one misfit piece is left over. This process is also important during book reading. Adults are encouraged to tell a story based on the pictures alone or talk about the characters’ actions, motives, and intentions, beyond what the story itself describes. This extends the child’s learning outside of the teaching tools themselves and focuses him on exploring. Health insurance quotes for you and your family.

This relates to mobile devices and the related applications or “apps” as well. App technology is relatively new as both a teaching tool and a main mode of entertainment for young children. This offers an opportunity to engage in collaborative teaching and learning. The iPad and other iDevices are useful learning tools filled with fascinating possibilities related to the cause and effect of how things work. Adults can model the process of figuring out how to interact with it and problem solve when they get stuck. Adults can use engaging language, such as, “Hmmm, that’s interesting”, “I’ve never seen this button before. I’m going to try it”, “I wonder what would happen if…”, etc. By modeling the learning process both with behavior and with language, the child learns to navigate these tools successfully as he feels comfortable exploring and reflecting along the way.

The reflection process that happens during and afterwards can really set the stage for meaningful and memorable learning. You can ask them questions about which apps they preferred, and why. You can describe which parts you liked the best or which parts were not as interesting. And most importantly, you can anchor it to real-life learning they may have experienced already or will be exposed to in the future. Then children will see that it’s not just about playing with an app alone, but what they gained from the thinking about how they did it and why what they learned was important. That is why the focus here is less on engaging in rote learning and getting the information correct, or even just knowing which app is the best one. The more important focus is the knowledge gained from the shared experience of learning a skill together and what the child got out of the whole process.

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