Empowering your son to take ownership of his learning journey can be one of the most effective and impactful ways of educating him. Done well, this can engage him further in learning, provide a more democratic learning experience and, of course, help him take control of his own education.
Empower boys to take ownership of learning with the following eight strategies.
Involve him in decision-making
Involving your son in the decision-making process is an important first step. Let your son be his own guide when working through tasks, choosing how to approach problems, and deciding what resources he needs to find solutions. Before doing this, it’s critical to work with him to set realistic boundaries and expectations. A good example is agreeing on a minimum amount of time for home learning each day. This is non-negotiable, but how he uses that time is up to him. While you want to empower him, remember that boys need high expectations and boundaries.
Encourage him to reflect
This is not something he will naturally do so he will need your constant support and prompts. To actively engage in the learning process, boys should reflect on their progress and processes. This will help your son to analyse why something didn’t work or how he could do it better next time. Reflection empowers students to make sense of their learning.
Allow him to teach
Can your son articulate his learning? Albert Einstein famously stated that “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. Giving your son a chance to explain a concept or topic can help him to reflect on how well he understands it. It also makes him think it through carefully in order to teach it to someone else. Teaching others can show your son that there are other opinions and ways to look at the world. If your son can understand this early, the impact through his life can be incredibly beneficial.
Give him chances to self-assess
An important aspect of life-long learning is the ability to constantly relate progress back to specific goals. Checking that he is on the right path will enable your son to own his learning process in a meaningful way. Ask him to respond to questions such as:
- What did I learn today?
- What do I still have questions about?
- Could I use this knowledge to accomplish one of my goals?
Ask for his opinion
The most valuable voice in the learning environment is that of the student. Your son is the one who consumes knowledge and can provide feedback on whether his needs are being met. Ask for his ideas on structure, routine, rules and responsibilities. Let him know that his opinion matters to you by working through his concerns together. Learning with your son should be a collaborative effort.
Suggest different learning tools
Give your son the chance to choose what works best for him. You may need to make him aware of different learning tools and formats. Perhaps we will sit and listen to an audio tape. Maybe he will read a picture book. He might decide to use other stimuli such as toys or interactive material. Empower him with the knowledge of tools and resources available so he can make the choice of what will work best for him.
Engage in service based learning
This is perhaps best done through school, but there is no reason why you can’t help your son apply his learning to the real world. Perhaps he has been learning about recycling at school, and wants to do more to help. Explore opportunities at your son’s school to get involved in volunteering or social impact activities. This gives him real world experience and creates context for his learning.
Encourage meaningful technology use
Technology gives students access to a wealth of information. The role of technology in schools is changing as it opens up new avenues for learning. It reaffirms the notion that learning can happen anytime and anywhere. The key is to keep it structured and meaningful.
Empowering students is a conscious decision made by parents and teachers. It is often a decision guided by a set of principles or a philosophy around how boys will be educated.
At Scots, our Brave Hearts Bold Minds Education Philosophy drives every education decision we make. Download your copy today and discover how it can benefit your son.