Recently, while I was leading the children, I also got to discuss the subject of "happy learning" with parents.
Regarding "happy learning", many people have great misunderstandings about AKHOschool (or educational institutions outside the system). These misunderstandings roughly have the same idea: [happiness = indulgence], or [happiness = zero pressure on children].
Some parents indeed send their children to AKHO with the imagination of "happy learning", but because of so we have had more opportunities to share with parents what "happy learning" really is.
There are two different levels in the pursuit of happiness in life:
The first level is the level of "sensory", such as eating, playing video games, listening to music, going out and having fun, etc. A happiness that doesn’t need extra time and effort.
The second level of happiness is the level of "consciousness". It is a willingness to set goals on things that you are passionate about and willing to spend a lot of time to achieve these goals. For example: skip sleep and meals to finish a painting you’ve longed to create, or, to reach the goal of running three thousand meters in less than 11 minutes, you’re willing to do long-term hard training, all to achieve the goal set by yourself, this is the real kind of happiness.
And our definition and educational goal of "happy learning" are precisely identical with the second level of happiness, the level of "consciousness".
So how do we avoid "happy learning" only at the first level?
Let us take the case of educational research and observation in the past three years as an example:
Alyssa is a child with a longing for many things. She is lively and likes to make handcrafts and love playing. However, under the guidance of AKHO, we often check the "resilience" of a child. As children grow older and are going through the rebellious stage, their opposition towards school teachers becomes increasingly apparent when in the face of setbacks and the demands of teachers.
From the family interviews, we understand that the children's learning situations in other educational institutions also show a lot of loose ends.
We focus mainly on sensory stimulations during the initial curriculum in first grade, but as the children slowly move towards the second and third grades, our curriculum and environmental rules also gradually require children to have more "waiting", "self preparing" and "deep thinking".
Among these obstacles, we worked with the parents to investigate and managed to summarize several reasons:
Reason one: There is no established habit in the children to finish what they started.
At AKHO, we have a clear schedule of lessons, but Alyssa is often picked up by her family halfway through lessons or doing homework. If it’s a course the child likes, the child will ask the parent to let him stay to complete it, but if it’s a course they don’t like or have other incentives to go “play” instead, the child will pack his schoolbag and head home immediately.
On the surface, this seems to be respecting the "will" of the child, but it also leaves the choice for the child to "avoid" learning. In the long run, when the child encounters something challenging, he will often choose to "pack his schoolbag and head home."
And such "happy learning" often teaches the child to avoid learning, making the learning attitude of the child horrible, sometimes even resulting in despisal of the teacher who tries to set up goals for him, this is the inevitable result of avoiding learning.
Reason two: No cultivation of a healthy attitude towards schoolwork.
Just like how the problem above is extended, this time it is extended towards schoolwork, if the parents and school teachers have the same standards for the child’s attitude of doing homework, the child's habits may gradually improve.
But if when the child is trying to meet the teacher's requests or has a problem that they can’t solve, and the parents' attitudes are inconsistent as the teachers, such as: "It doesn't matter, I don't require good grades", "It doesn't matter, as long as you finish your homework", then their habit of avoiding learning will be further strengthened.
If the parents do not ask the child to "face the problem" alongside with the teacher, then what the child is learning is a perfunctory attitude. We should also avoid criticizing the teacher in front of the child, because even worse than a perfunctory attitude is the attitude of "hostility towards the teacher", which will also cause the child to become “unable to follow commands” and have "low tolerance for correction“, instead of being "contemplative" when in face of the guidance and demands of the teacher.
And when the child sees schoolwork as “troublesome”, in the future, as the learning of knowledge becomes more and more difficult, the child will feel “troublesome”. If the child continues this attitude, what will he learn? what kind of knowledge isn’t getting more complicated? How would any learning motivation develop?
Reason 3: Inconsistent parenting principles
We also observed that when a child faces a parent's request, one side will be strict on the matter, while the other side will “spoil” the child. To the point where when the child makes a mistake, he/she will even lie to help the child with the matter.
Starting from birth to adulthood, parents are the first "leaders" their children imitate from. And when the leader starts to demonstrate that he can't do certain things, and he chooses to "lie" to avoid the problem, then the children will start to “apply” what he has learned from the leader.
Reason 4: Use "transactions" to ask your children to complete things
During the interview, it was discussed that there is a "very effective" method of guiding children when they are doing homework at home. This method is: "finish your homework quickly and grandfather will take you to the night market”, "complete your homework quickly and Mom will let you play video games”, "complete your homework today, and Mom and Dad will take you out on Saturday."
Education is not a "transaction". When a child develops a "bartering" education model, he will develop an attitude of "what good can I get by doing this” and “if it doesn’t benefit me, then I will take my time”. This “transaction” may bring "immediate effect", but the child will soon be numb unless if the parents can provide a better “trade”, and more importantly, the child will not be able to figure out and take up their responsibility.
All of the reasons above are a result of three years of observation, the observations of the different situations of each family. Discovering the most profound misunderstanding of "happy learning". Fearing that your children are unhappy, resulting in your children finding not profound happiness, but transient “sensory” happiness. We know that every parent wants his child to be happy, but when the child's frustration tolerance and pressure resistance are extremely low, will the child really be happy in the future?