Sunday, December 30, 2012

Interest-Led Learning

Many of the people we have met in this area don't know about other ways of learning other than going to school and doing the curriculum assigned to them. Many seem to think that education is enforced through a scheduled lesson plan and proven with weekly tests. They think that kids have to be at a certain level at each age for each subject and if they aren't they are labeled and given more attention to bring them back up to the "level" of the others. This sounds right to most, but this overlooks that kids have different learning speeds for different areas of learning and they all learn differently. This is forcing kids to all fit into a small box of how it has to be according to the adults. It's very stressful for them.

I don't see what is wrong with letting kids live and follow their interests to learn. Sure... reading and math are important. At a certain age kids realize that it is and focus on it more because they just know that they need it. That is where Austyn is. He knows that he needs certain things. It's just like taking medicine if we are sick. We may not like the taste all of the time but we know that we need it to get better. So, sometimes we do Math and Reading practice (if it hasn't been touched on naturally for a while), but the best learning still happens when these things show up naturally and there is a strong curiosity that is driving the child to learn.

What I want to share in this post, is how learning happens well through interests. ANY interest. It doesn't have to be rocket ships or architecture. It can be a TV show, a book, a sport or anything else. In this case, Austyn is interested in a Japanese Cartoon called D. Gray Man that was introduced to him by a babysitter who traveled to Japan. He watched the whole series on NetFlix. I know that it's rated Teen and has some violence, but I don't care. He loves it and because of this, it drives him to learn more.

Shortly after becoming interested he realized that the cartoon was inspired by comics. We borrowed the first volume from the Library. Guess what!!! He's been reading it and got a copy for Christmas! He loves it!! This is HUGE since he wasn't all that interested in reading in the past.

 He enlarged the pictures that he liked of different levels of Akuma on our photocopier. He cut them out and pasted them on coloured paper to keep track of what each one looks like.

 Here are the pages he made and labeled.

 The theme of his interest shows up in many of the things he does each day. Here are Lego characters and other things that were inspired by D. Gray Man. This is a fairly recent interest. I assume that he will start to draw pictures and write about it as well. Time will tell. That is what happened with his other interests.


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