Empowering children: how to teach them to be confident learners
At a certain point, we’ll need to let children out into the world on their own. How do we make sure they can handle what awaits them?
Empowering children is not just something parents should think of at home. In fact, the most empowering thing you can offer a child is education. The way this education is tailored makes a great deal of difference in who the child grows up to be.
Teaching children to memorize facts, versus teaching them to critically examine facts is a big difference. Teaching them to only listen to an authority figure, versus teaching them how to speak in front of a whole class of their peers and defend their own stance is a big difference as well. It can later turn into a difference between a confident adult who has trust in their own skills and isn’t afraid to speak up, and an adult who is helpless in the face of conflict, cannot defend themselves and cannot critically examine the facts thrown at them.
Robo Wunderkind teaches children that they are not mere consumers, but creators of technology. Our lessons show them how powerful skills as simple as coding can be in the face of technology. We empower them to create their own tools, art, helpers and teach them that technology is there for them to use, and to help.
Here are some of the smaller things Robo Wunderkind lessons do, albeit to great results:
1. Allow children to make their own choices
It’s as simple as letting them choose their breakfast or outfit. Or what to do with their robot.We give children a task to complete and let them explore the necessary cubes on their own at first. They are not simply told what to do, but are allowed to make their own choices, and probably fail a few times before they do so.
2. Let them take risks
Being worried about children’s safety might make us want to intervene all the time, but we really shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter if it’s about letting them walk home from school alone, or seeing them trying to connect Robo cubes the wrong way. We let them make mistakes and explain why things didn’t go as expected, but that it is okay.
3. Listen to them
Make sure children know that their opinion matters and that they are being listened to. That encourages trust. When children complain about a task or suggest a different way, their ideas aren’t just shut down, instead, the teachers hear them out, let them try out what they want, and if it doesn’t work, they explain why.
4. Encourage them in finding their own way
Just because we give children a certain task doesn’t mean there’s only one way of achieving it. If we tell them to build Toy Town for Robo to visit, we let them be as creative as they want. If we ask them to communicate with another Robo, we leave the storyline up to them. Supporting their creativity is the way to go! In all our lessons, there is an independent play time where children can explore and use what they just learned in the core of the lesson.
5. Support perseverance
Programming is all about the trial-and-error process, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. Children make mistakes in building Robo and making code all the time, and teachers following the Robo Wunderkind curriculum never discourage them. They need to see what they did wrong to get it right. We’re always there to help and make sure they never give up.
6. Discourage stereotypes
When it comes to coding, it’s especially those about gender that ruin the fun. Coding is for girls as much as it is for boys; girls love to code and create robotic tools as much as boys do. We encourage the passion in both boys and girls and are always thrilled to see them thrive. After all, we can’t let some outdated stereotypes stop girls from finding their passion. Our product is gender neutral and appeals to every curious young mind.
In short, these are some of the ways we encourage children to be empowered. While the word ’empowerment’ may sound like a buzzword, it carries lots of meaning – knowing who you are, what you are able of, and knowing what you can achieve.
To find out more about our teaching methods, check out our curriculum. Better yet, stop by our stand at ISTE 2019. We’ll be at #1051!
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