Uyboco: Motivation vs Method

Free Thinking.Me

I WAS recently browsing through a homeschooling forum that I joined and one of the members there said something like, “I really want Singapore (SG) Math for my children, but I'm scared to teach it myself because I don’t know it. Do you know an instructor who can do it all for me?”

And so expectedly a lot of people posted how-tos, some assured her that it was easy, some gave her links to Youtube, as well as actual tutors.

But I asked, “If you don’t know SG Math, why do you want it for your kids?”

And she said, “Well I think I’m convinced of other parents’ feedback perhaps.”

To which I replied, “There is no one style of learning math (or anything for that matter) and what may seem better for some may not necessarily be so for others. It's best, I think, to understand first what your kids want.”

More than the methodology, it is important for parents to understand that motivation is what drives learning. Regardless of the technique, if there is no desire nor interest to learn, nothing will happen. But note as well that regardless of the technique, a motivated learner will learn whatever it is they desire to learn, even from mediocre sources -- because they will soon move on to find other, better sources and methods.

As parents, we understandably want the best for our kids. Oftentimes though, we don’t trust our kids to make that decision for themselves. We think they are too young or too immature, and so on. But do we really understand how our kids learn? They are amazing learning machines but they have their own built-in way in which to understand the world, and that is not dictated by us.

Look back to when they were babies and toddlers. Some babies learned to walk first before learning to talk. For others, it is the reverse. Some learn to read at an early age, some later. Some learn how to write before they learn how to read. Some are interested in drawing, others in music, others in running around. All through this time, they are already learning in tremendous leaps and bounds, and nobody teaches these to them. We don’t talk about techniques and methods.

They just learn in their own way in their own time, because they want to, because they are driven to.

The best educational method I can suggest is to understand what it is that your child wants to learn, and support them as best you can. It’s not about what kind of math method you should adopt, it’s about asking if your child even wants to learn math in the first place.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.


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