It is no small wonder that biblically, the role of teaching, instructing and training a child is given to the parent.

No payment of fees, hefty or otherwise, could ever do a job as great as you as a parent can do, your belief that you ain’t no teacher or that you don’t have such patience notwithstanding. Your excellence is brought by the fact that the act of teaching has a lot to do with a teacher’s knowledge of their learner, and you as a parent know your child better than any other adult does.

COVID-19 cloud has brought every parent a silver lining in this way. We have observed our children attending virtual classes and doing assignments, or better still we have been their hands-on teachers on the daily, getting to know things about our children that we might not have known when we shipped them off to school at age 3. The most important thing you should have observed is how your child learns, and how they do not.

School teachers are also taught to observe their students to know what learning methods works for them;

Visual children learn by creating mental images from what they see or read. If they see it, they are most likely to always remember it. Pictures and posters on the walls work for them. If you watch a movie with them, they will vividly remember scenic details. These children do not benefit much if someone reads out to them, they have to see the words and read for themselves!

Auditory children can on the other hand listen to a book reading or a lecture and at the end of it remember the content. When they read for themselves, they want to sound out the words loud and even if you tell them to read by heart they will move their lips. If you watch a movie with them, they will remember some lines very well and if you can put a lesson into a song for them, you have won the teaching game. Name yourself Mr. Successful, make yourself the H.O.D and promote yourself to be principal.

Kinesthetic children are the reason you will get called to school and told that your child is not settling down. This is the child who wants to do something else while learning. The teacher wonders why it is so hard for them to just sit.still.and.listen! The student has become friends with naughty corner or doesn’t so much mind punishments, and the teacher just wants to resign. Unknown to such a teacher, the object the kinesthetic child is tapping on or fiddling with during the lesson might actually be helping them to keep focus. This child just longs they could act the lesson out, or get to the experiment part of it. The teacher needs to keep assuring the child that they are soon getting to that part. Pity this child for punishments meted out to them for misbehavior, just because the teacher did not understand the heart of the child.

Which begs the question; how many hearts will the teacher be expected to understand? Where is the time? And frankly, will we ever finish the syllabus if we are now into hearts?

That’s where you come in, dear parent.

For learning to take place, a teacher needs to approach each lesson from all the three perspectives, and also major on one for the learner who is having difficulties following. Everyone has some of two of all the learning styles but also has their dominant one. As an adult you can easily identify your most efficient learning style, but children need someone to know it for them and major on it and at the same time develop their other techniques for a wholesome life experience. Appreciation of the dominant one will always be the key to learning.

You may let the teacher know what best works for your child. A bad truth for you to acknowledge is that given numbers, the school teacher cannot emphasize on a learning technique for each learner, she has all of forty-five minutes to get with it! A  worse truth is that the teacher might not agree with your insight and will still do what they been doing all their life. The worst truths fall in the range of the teachers who do not know the different learning methods and those who are too unmotivated to care. Couple that with schools that have a high teachers turnover making knowledge of learners a mirage, and cases where your child will be assisted by use of fake grades to seem like they are learning much so as to appease you the parent who paid so hefty a fee and thus requires Harvard-worthy results from the school.

Next time you see poor grades on a report card, respond with a better approach than slaps and blows now that you have this knowledge. Every time you observe homework problems, do something better than send the homework back to the sender, and with a semi-arrogant note to go with it! God just help us parents.

Do your parental duty; help your children to learn.

COVID-19 wasn’t that disruptive to learning, it helped.

6 Replies

  • Tonia

    True that the parent is the child’s first teacher. Great article, this season is actually a rewire button for child-parent relationships to have the right foundation.

  • Gorrety

    This was so informative, thanks alot for this. I think my children fall under all the categories mentioned above.
    I have been trying to use a uniform method for all of them,but now, I will adopt for each the method that fits them well. Thanks alot.

  • Irene

    Hi Muthoni.
    This is a good write up for parents in understanding their children’s potential in learning.
    However, from a teacher’s perspective, the learners need to acquire all the learning skills namely, reading, listening, writing, speaking, critical thinking, creative thinking etc. The teaching methods used are thus aimed at imparting these skills in the learner, hence taking care of the visual, auditory, kinesthetic etc types of learners.

    This notwithstanding, your creativity in writing is evident. You can put up together all your write ups and edit them into a book. You will thenceforth become an author. Good luck.

    • Muthoni

      Thanks a lot! Yes, and I hope that even Kinesthetic children are catered for as they are taught to write, they would benefit so much if they make out the letters using modelling clay, it would “stick to them” more than a chart on a wall, and creative thinking will be developed therein. And auditory ones told to speak to the letter as they form it, even make up a story about why it faces this way and that way, critical and analytical skills will be introduced right there. A learner in the hands of a good teacher has literally no limits.

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