Kids are so immediate aren’t they? But on their own terms. If it’s something they want, they want it now. But if it’s something they’re not the slightest bit interested in, they’ve already forgotten it. Take my ten-year old nephew for example. The moment he arrived he was on my case. I make jewellery, and he wanted to choose something as a present for a friend; and he wanted to do it straight away. Don’t get me wrong, he was always polite, never rude, but he really wanted to do it now; and he wouldn’t be put off. He made his choice, and did a couple of jobs to pay for it – mean Aunty that I am!
I remember going on holiday as a child, and before we were at the end of the road, my sister was asking ‘are we nearly there yet?’ (I was the one saying ‘I feel sick, can we stop!’) We never appreciated the journey, hardly saw the differing countryside we passed, we just wanted to arrive, get the journey over with, and get on with the holiday.
Some of the children I work with can be a bit like that. The trick is to get them involved with the immediacy of learning, by giving them the excitement of achieving something quickly. Not long drawn out, boring assignments that never seem to end; but small attainable steps, which, when put together actually form a vital part of longer tasks. When these short exercises are easily accomplished, it gives a child the confidence to build on that success, and attempt more challenging tasks. This innate immediacy and eagerness that children have, lends itself well to learning, but it needs to be achievable and appropriate to the child’s own capacity to learn. If not, the child fails, becomes more disillusioned, and the desire to learn quickly fades. It’s why I’m in the business of encouraging children, showing them what they can do, not what they can’t do. And what a buzz it is for me, when a child is released from their sense of failure, catches that enthusiasm, and achieves something they thought they could never do.