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Understanding Learning

Three Ideas central to my understanding of how to support the learning process

Date : 02/03/2017

Author Information


Uploaded by : Khuyen
Uploaded on : 02/03/2017
Subject : Maths

I would like to briefly cover three ideas that are central to my understanding of how to engage a student in their learning.

Creating Knowledge

Education is not simply the teacher giving knowledge to the student, but the student and the teacher creating knowledge together.

The teacher may have expertise to pass on to the student but learning is a creative process, involving both the teacher and the student. The teacher also has a lot to learn from the process - to clarify and deepen their knowledge of the subject, to learn something about themselves, and to build relationship with the student.

Start with where the student is at

Starting where the student is at means spending some time figuring out how they think, and what they already know, and then building knowledge from there

I d like to illustrate this with a quick example:
If we think about how to do a simple sum. Let`s consider: 29 + 15.

How did you work it out?
Did you add 30 to 15, then minus 1? Or did you add 10 to 29, then count up 5? Or did you write it out on paper one above the other and add up each unit? Or another way?

For me, the important thing to acknowledge here is that there can be many different correct ways of understanding and of approaching a task, a question, an essay, or a mathematics problem,
and when teaching it can be important to find out what is intuitive for the young person and to encourage them to use these methods.

This can be seen very clearly in a simple maths sum, but the principle is applicable to all subjects. It would be a challenge to do this teaching a class of 30 students, but in one-to-one tuition, or small groups, I have found this to be an effective, engaging, and empowering method.


Getting over the barrier of self-doubt.

Something I have come across over and over again as a tutor is students getting stuck with the idea I just can t do this`. This happens a lot with maths!

This often results in them not even trying and creates a barrier to their learning. I have found the following methods to be very helpful to get over this barrier:

* To be gently encouraging, and to be actively affirming whenever they get things right or do them well - without being patronising!
* To not always accept their statements of I have no idea , and to give them space to `just try`.
* To make it a safe space to try things out and to make mistakes, and as their tutor to try and show no judgement or frustration when mistakes a made or learning is slow.
* To affirm that mistakes are an essential part of the learning process.

This resource was uploaded by: Khuyen