There is a general tendency in society to feel that learning happens at school, then that’s the end of the tiresome process!
There are, of course, many reasons why it shouldn’t be like that, and I’ll be exploring this more in the next couple of weeks. But to kick off with, I was interested to read this article about the positive impact that parents engaging in learning had on their children (as well as on the parents themselves).
It’s obvious, I guess, that if you enhance the employment prospects of the parents by improving their qualifications, then some benefits accrue to the kids simply through the higher status/self-esteem/income that result.
However, I suspect the more important factor is the change in the parents’ attitude to learning. There’s plenty of research showing how kids pick up subliminal messages very readily, and even if a parent isn’t outwardly hostile to education, if they themselves feel it is something to be endured then kids are pretty likely to feel likewise. Similarly, if a child only sees learning taking place within school, and never experiences adults learning, then it’s only natural if they equate learning with the other (often undesirable) aspects of being a child, and are keen to dispense with it and enter the adult world as soon as possible. Parents learning alongside their kids may also occasionally offer the kid the opportunity to be the teacher – and the vast majority of them love that.
It’s a brilliant initiative on the part of the school featured in the article, and the fact that both parents and kids are learning at the same school must make it particularly special. But I am sure benefits would accrue not only with parents who are not well qualified themselves, but also with those who have no obvious need to develop their knowledge and skills. Seeing continual engagement in learning must help promote it as a natural process rather than as something to be overcome to get on to the next stage, which is surely what we want our kids to feel?
So – what are you waiting for? Get out there and learn something!