For many of us, January is a time to think about how we can improve ourselves. We might consider how to get thinner, healthier and fitter. We promise ourselves that this year we will be better and may do something about it. For a time…
I would often start the year teaching my class about the origins of the name of the first month of the year. As some of you may know, January is named after the Roman god Janus. To Ancient Romans, he was the god of beginnings, transitions, doorways and endings. He has two faces: one looking forward and the other looking back. I would give the children an outline of Janus to write on. They would write down what they were proud of in the previous year in the backward-looking face. On the other face they would write what they were looking forward to.
The idea of looking back on our achievements isn’t something we always do. Too often we dwell on things that have gone wrong and give ourselves a hard time. The same is true of quite a few children. We have children coming to our Centre saying, “I can’t do maths” or “I’m rubbish at reading”. On one occasion I had a child coming to an assessment who said, “I have never read a book in my life. I can’t read.” This child now reads novels and has favourite authors. Our response to these negative comments is to tell children that it might be something they find difficult at the moment, but it doesn’t mean they can’t do it or that they’re rubbish. They may need to learn in a different way or go right back to basics because something is missing which is holding them back.
A lot of what we do at the Centre involves building confidence in children. If they have convinced themselves that they are no good at something, we show them what they can do and build on that. We also show them that mistakes are normal in the learning process. Learning from mistakes are an integral part of the lesson. In fact, we tell the children that if they have completed the work without some struggle then it is not challenging enough for them. Learning requires effort and dealing with difficulties along the way.
If children look back at their learning and only think of negative experiences, then this can have an impact on future learning. If, however, they can be shown what they can achieve, this can open the door to a much more positive future.
To find out more about what we do at the Centre, follow the links bellow:
• Special Educational Needs