Delight Learning by ProQuest


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									Delight Learning
By Wendy McNeeley

H     ave you ever watched a four-year-old struggling to tie
      shoes? Lengthy laces clutched in pudgy fingers, looping to
make those “bunny ears.” One drops. A tear trickles from one
eye. An intense look of concentration configures the face, trying
to remember: How does it go? With creased forehead, slightly
stuck out tongue and eyes seeing nothing but that strand of

string, the child is displaying a passion to make those shoes stay
tight. Renewed effort gives way to released tension. The radiant
face and eyes shine with delight. At last, reward for effort and
pride in a skill well done. “Mom, I did it, I did it! Come and see.”
     I want to sustain this passion of intensity into a lifelong love                  hatch them! Poor things, they died, but not without first
of learning for my children. I want my children to focus on the                        endowing him with details about their growth. Indeed, the
wonders of life, to ask: “What is this?” “How does that work?”                         whole summer was filled with wasp experiments and investiga-
“Has anyone ever noticed this before?” But there must be this                          tions. The broken table was converted into a scientific lab out-
struggle, this tension, and that inevitable creased forehead. To                       side, and every wasp entering the yard was at risk of not so much
do this, I grant them time to access materials, tangible and intan-                    being smashed, but of being frozen, having its stinger surgically
gible. I allow them to raise questions and ideas. This encourages                      removed, and being slowly revived. Books full of compiled
their ability to dream and to explore. Would you like to see                           data, problems solved, experiments revised, and summaries
bright eager faces? Then focus on delight learning. It is all en-                      compiled occupied my son’s mind. Requested library materials
compassing. It accompanies them from first morning light as                            satisfied some questions and spurned him onward to others.
they observe the sunlight casting shadows on the wall through to                           Let’s consider the notable scientists. How much scientific
bedtime reading as they visualize a written picture. It is always                      knowledge do they need to know and to memorize before they
on unless it has been forced off. Trust your children. Tap into                        can do their investigations? Why, they are formulating the ideas
their curiosity and intelligence in the area of their particular pas-                  that we now try to cram into our children’s minds! Instead, en-
sion.                                                                                  courage experimentation so your children discover concepts for
     But wait, you say, they need to learn some things they don’t                      themselves. Say as little as possible. Keep in mind that all learn-
consider delightful. Well, consider this. All students must de-                        ing works in waves. A crest of energetic learning levels off as it
cide to learn. Short-term “learning” may satisfy some short-term                       rushes into shore, for a rethink on it all, a rest before a new crest
goals, but it’s often temporary and th
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