Learning To Learn

Learning To Learn: A Very Montessori Principle

Learning: It’s something that we will do our whole life. From our first learning until our death, we will learn. It is, moreover, a tremendous opportunity that we have as human beings. But how do you learn to learn?

When we talk about learning, we think especially of school. If the school is the place of learning par excellence, one can learn everywhere and all the time. 

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But Do We Know How To Learn?

How to educate our children to learn? Is there only one way to learn new skills? Does learning only mean memorizing concepts or retaining lessons?

We will see that there are many ways to learn and that we do not all know in the same way.

Thanks to Maria Montessori’s teachings and her extensive research, we will see why educating children on learning is essential. And how that can boost their abilities and open up new perspectives!

What Is It To Learn?

What is meant by “learning”? “To learn” can have the meaning of “to retain, “to learn by heart a poem or a definition, for example.

A Traditional View

In France today, we still have a very academic and didactic vision of learning. To learn is to remember, learn by heart, and memorize through repetition, reading, and concentration.

The learning methods are valued and almost exclusively the only ones taught.

For this reason, all children are taught the same language, math, reading, science, etc. Most pupils, college, high school, and college students, will follow the same learning methods.

We All Learn Differently.

Humans have different physical criteria; we each have an equally diverse cognitive and intellectual development. Because of this diversity, we all learn differently and at different rates.

Some of us will have a visual memory, for example. It will suffice to read a text to remember that such and such a sentence was at the bottom left of the page. A person with an auditory memory will prefer to recite their text aloud to memorize it. At the same time, a kinesthetic person will need to manipulate an object or to move, to move, to learn a lesson.

Some people are very fortunate to use many of these learning memories naturally.

But others will only work on how we will have children who encounter difficulties at school only because their functioning is not considered.

What Maria Montessori teaches Us About Children’s Learning

The work of Maria Montessori has confirmed many of these hypotheses concerning the acquisition of skills and knowledge by the child. Through Montessori pedagogy, we can learn to learn very practically.

The Importance Of The Environment

One of the fundamental principles of Montessori pedagogy is the adaptation of the child’s environment. First of all, a transformation in terms of accessibility.

So that the child can be autonomous in the tasks, it seems simple and obvious. Yet, many learning environments intended for children are not suitable: equipment inaccessible alone because too high, doors or cupboards too tricky to open.

Many obstacles can arise from a non-adaptation of the environment to the child.

Maria Montessori taught us that the beginning of a child’s concentration is “as fragile as a bud. ” Consequently, the slightest difficulty inaccessibility can block the child in his learning process and cause him to lose his concentration.

On the other hand, the young child will go through “sensitive periods of order. ” That is to say, the order that surrounds him on the outside will influence his inner order.

In Montessori pedagogy, it is therefore essential that everything has its place. Thus, we will not disrupt the child’s landmarks and upset his internal order.

Indeed, a stable external order reassured by a child will also be more open and concentrated during learning.

Freedom Source Of Internal Discipline

In our culture, we have a conception of learning linked with the notion of constraint, effort, even pain. Yet, here again, Montessori pedagogy teaches us that it is possible to learn freely.

Montessori environments leave the child free to choose an activity among those already presented by the educator. The advantage is that he will work on the skill he has decided when he feels the need.

We see that a child who has chosen his activity will present a much higher concentration level than on compulsory training. Learning is, therefore, more effective when the child is allowed to follow his idea.

The Interior Guide

Maria Montessori also talks to us about the notion of inner Guide. These are the learning impulses that the child feels on his own.

The child will follow this instinct, which pushes him to develop and acquire skills and knowledge.

Montessori pedagogy teaches us the importance of respecting this inner Guide. Because ultimately, it only pushes the child to work on skills when ready.

The inner Guide respects the child’s motor, psychological, and emotional development. Therefore, we can consider that if a child asks to accomplish a task, he is ready to do it.

Thus, we can deduce that learning to learn is also to follow the direction proposed by your inner Guide.

The Valuable Help And The Role Of The Educator

The educator will provide only “useful” help in Montessori discipline. That is to say that in the learning process, one intervenes only if the child requests it.

This pedagogical positioning, not to “do it instead,” allows the child to learn at his own pace. In addition, it avoids breaking his concentration by intervening in his workspace.

Finally, when we intervene, we send “you are not capable” to the child. It can damage their self-confidence.

The Diversity Of Learning Modes

Maria Montessori was one of the first teachers to notice many learning ways. For example, Montessori pedagogy suggests using rough letters for learning to read.

This material allows the child to learn by using visual, auditory, kinesthetic (by manipulating the letter), and sensory (by the rough aspect) memory.

Multiplying the possibilities of memorization is an important key when learning to learn.

Montessori Pedagogy Or Teaching Children To Learn

  • By creating a reassuring and stable environment for the child, we will teach him to structure his workspace.
  • The freedom to choose his activity and follow his inner Guide allows him to acquire self-discipline.
  • By only intervening when the child asks for it, we help them gain confidence in themselves and their abilities and allow them to concentrate.
  • Finally, by multiplying the learning modes, the child will learn to use all his working memories.

By following the principles of Maria Montessori, we, therefore, teach her how to learn.

Why Learn To Learn?

One can wonder about the need to learn. Indeed, man has always known for himself, and we can say that the process of learning and understanding is something natural.

Unless there is a particular disability, humans will always be able to acquire skills, learn from their experiences and understand new concepts to some extent.

But teaching a child (or an adult) how to teach him is to give him the keys to save time and make the learning process less laborious and more fun.

Who has never dreamed of being able to remember a course page more easily? Who has never thought that if it were less complicated, he could learn English or go back to school, enroll in an adult course? 

We have this idea that learning must be something painful and difficult. However, many techniques allow you to learn better, to learn more efficiently, faster, and in a more fun way. To improve our capacity to retain information.

These techniques will bring to the learner not only better retention but also self-esteem.

Indeed, when the learning process is known, we are much more confident when we have several tools at our disposal.

When a learning difficulty arises, and we have neither the knowledge of how our brain works nor the tools to apprehend it, we will be confronted with stress. The problem is, neuroscience teaches us that focus is wrong for learning and interferes with attention. A natural vicious circle!

One flaw in our current educational vision is that it sees children as “reservoirs” to be filled. Traditional education, therefore, favors rote, theoretical knowledge, and standardization of learning. And this causes many problems: poor self-esteem in the child, failure at school.

So How Do You Teach A Child How To Teach?

First of all, by respecting the principles of the Montessori method seen above.

By allowing him to acquire the bases of self-discipline and a controlled environment, we will enable the child to lay the grounds of any learning.

In the same way, we will teach him a wide range of learning techniques. The idea will be to give him a mental opening on learning.

May he understand that there is not just one method but a multitude. That learning is not frozen but in movement and can be too. You can learn French and grammar by reading a book, playing games, using methods like mind maps, or by learning mnemonic phrases, etc.

So we will give him confidence in his abilities, allow him to find the techniques that suit him best.

A Multitude Of Techniques

The idea behind the notion of “learning to learn” is that the child is not a prisoner of a fixed and universal method. Teaching him different memorization techniques will give him a tangible toolbox to draw for his learning.

First, rather than being confined to reciting, rereading, repeating, sitting on a chair without moving, we will present him with other possibilities.

Mnemonic tricks which use the language or the principle of the mental map which requests different types of memory will, for example, allow the child to appropriate the content to be retained. Summarizing, making sketch notes (taking notes in the drawing), or mind mapping will enable us to use other parts of our brain to better structure and memorize information.

They encourage the child to reflect rather than to render without understanding.

Other techniques such as moving around or making movements to retain a text will call on several senses to promote memorization.

Learn To Think

In the end, learning to learn is learning to think. It is undoubtedly learning to use your brain and its capacities to retain information.

But unlike classic learning techniques based on rote, or we will reread each line until we remember it, combining the methods requires reflection. When we look for a mnemonic means to retain a sentence, we will have to analyze the said sentence and its meaning.

We hear a lot about Mindmapping or mind mapping. Itis, not a fad; the success of this method is because it is very effective. Indeed, to make a mental map, it is also necessary to dissect the information, understand it, and visualize it. Numerous studies have been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of these methods.

But behind these memorization techniques is what the child is taught about learning. By offering more independence, the motivation leads him to learn rather than fill the knowledge.

Reconnecting the child to his learning capacities also gives him the desire to learn. Make learning something playful, encourage him to play with his cognitive ability with active methods.

Because a child who enjoys learning can acquire all the knowledge, he needs. While a child who does not have the desire to learn, even with excellent memorization skills, will have all the worry in the world to motivate himself and may miss out on learning that would have benefited him. Therefore, it is beneficial for parents and teachers alike to provide training to help children learn.

What Training To Learn To Learn?

There are multiple pieces of training for learning to learn. We recommend two in particular.

For teachers, we recommend the I Teach with Joy training. In this preparation,  you will not only learn “learn to learn” techniques such as mind mapping, the use of the five senses, callback tables, etc. But still, how to create a serene class climate without having to resort to cries, punishments, threats to make you obey. Indeed, stress decreases the learning capacities of students while enthusiasm increases them. You will find information and practical exercises to improve students’ learning abilities.

For parents, we recommend the I educate in joy training. This training is not a question of techniques specific to school learning, but how to be obeyed without shouting and rediscovering joy and serenity at home. Again, the goal is that the child can grow up in a serene and happy environment to maximize his learning capacities while acquiring life skills.

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