Dr Christine Stephen of the Stirling Institute for Education provided the second presentation at the readiness for learning seminar held on the 6th may at the Mcsense centre in Mayfield, Dalkeith. Christine spoke on ‘Readiness for learning – what is it and how do we improve it?’
I really enjoyed Christine’s presentation, perhaps more so because I am not from an education background. A key point I took out of it was that early years children are ready for learning – in fact they are programmed for learning, and will learn almost in spite of anything that adults do or don’t do – it just matter of what and how well. That very much chimed with my own experience as a parent – suddenly my kids could do things – that tricky journey of guiding a spoon from bowl to mouth suddenly happened, or from first looking at words and pictures to suddenly seeing them racing through books. Naively, perhaps, I think I saw learning as taking place in the gaps between play – but I can see now that the play was most of the learning and probably most of my attempts at instruction were really tiresome interruptions to learning.
Christine looked at what schools and parents could do to be ready for children’s desire and innate drive to learn – reminding us that readiness for learning is about how the child is supported to learn and that it is the adults and the adult world that might have to do things differently to improve readiness for learning not the child.