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  • Skribentens bildSuzanne Axelsson

Knowing is not understanding

I think education is very often about giving children facts to know - a series of facts, test them on it, then a new series of facts...

An approach to teaching that is neither giving the children time to process the facts to understand them or time to reflect and see how all these different facts in different subjects connect and offer not only a deepening of understanding but also opportunities of creative thinking.

i get so frustrated with the fast paced nature of education - from the early years to university where children are being required to reach goals, targets and be graded on them...

cramming a person with facts might mean the adult is teaching but it doesn’t necessarily mean the child is learning.

Play is an excellent way to slow down - because it slows things down to the natural pace of the child.

But there can also be a need to actively slow down with the children/learners in this world of ours that seems to be constantly picking up speed (You only have to look at how films and children’s TV programming has evolved over the last 2-4 decades to see how much faster the pace of storytelling and image stimulation has become). So we need to be mindful of strategies to slow things down and take notice.. through art, photography, nature explorations, observing nature over time, rest, daydreaming opportunities, stories, music etc etc

This is one of the reasons for why I chose to talk about #slowdown #lookclosely - not just that we, as educators slow down and get the chance to observe what the children are actually learning and communicating, but also so the children can slow down and feel comfortable with a pace that allows them to witness and appreciate the small wonders of our world.

Here you can listen as I talk about #slowdown and #lookclosely

We need to be thinking about strategies for understanding. How do we create learning environment so that children don’t simply know facts but understand them so they can make informed decisions, both now and in the future?

As adults we need to listen better to the language of childhood to better understand how children learn - not to simply regurgitate facts but to find meaning and relevance - to understand. There is a need to support children in their ability to listen - so that they are listening to understand and not listening to reply.

we need to create time for reflection and meta dialogues - this can be done through play, art, exploration as well as discussion.

we need to create space and time for children to process and learn in their own way (play gives time for this if we are providing the right environment and resources that allow children to extend their learning through play) as well as the lessons we provide (taking into consideration the many ways children learn, and not just the academic "teacher down" strategy)... a together-led education of children and adults collaborating in the construction of teaching and learning.

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