- Learning mostly happens in a step-by-step fashion. Yes sometimes people take leaps and the steps are not always linear, but typically people learn over time in a somewhat developmental way.
- Learning can happen in many different ways, and it takes metacognition to know what works best for one's own learning. When teaching others it takes careful observation, conversation, trial-and-error, and research-based practice to decide what works best for a child or group of children.
- Learning demands practice. It's rare that people learn something on a first try, but instead it takes lots of practice to master a skill.
- Learning requires connection making so it's best to connect new concepts with past concepts for rich learning.
- Learning requires consistency. Generally it's difficult for someone to learn well if the content and pedagogy is changing too much. Patterns can support good learning. There's a balance here, however, because too much predictability can also dull the mind. Hence, the teachers and students have to be mindful of their learning patterns.
As I work with learners, I'll reach for the following:
- Looking at developmental learning charts to assess what students know and what is their next best learning goal.
- Using assessments, observation, and conversation to set good learning goals.
- Working at those goals in a variety of ways assessing all the time which methods result in best gains and positive learning.
- Building confidence, engagement, and investment by making students well aware of their good knowledge, goals, and achievements. Celebrating gains and setting just right, achievable goals.
- Enlisting the support of other educators, students, and family members to help students make those gains in ways that make a positive difference.
Knowing where you are and where you are going is a big part of learning--a part of learning we need to share and encourage with students. We know a lot about learning. And yes, there's still more to learn. Please let me know if you have any suggestions to add to this post in that regard.