So…at Christmas my husband and I were trying very hard to put together a very sophisticated and convoluted ‘car walker’ for our 8 month old son.
“Where’s that piece E?” my husband asked me curtly, as we were just about ready to throw this thing over the garden fence!
“I don’t know, what does it look like?” I replied.
“I don’t know, but it says here that piece E should clip onto piece D and then you slide it into the wheel axis” he told me.
“Well it’s no good saying that to me, I have no idea what you’re on about. I need to see the picture!”
This is quite a typical argument in my house whenever any ‘DIY’ is conducted. My husband is very able, intellectual and practical. I like to think that I am equally as able. However, we will never agree on how to go about learning something new.
Take the dreaded car walker toy as an example. Give my husband a list of instructions to read and he will methodically and happily fit it together in his own time. I, on the other hand, have neither the patience nor the interest in reading instructions and would much rather look at a picture and piece it together by way of trial and error based on how it looks. It would frustrate me if someone told me that I had to do it a certain way.
Neither of us is ‘wrong’ in the way we go about tasks and learn how to complete something. We both achieve the same end goal (a perfectly functioning car walker that our son played in for a couple of hours Christmas Day and has ignored ever since!). All this demonstrates to us it that we have very different learning styles. As adults, we are aware of how best we learn, most of the time. I wonder how frustrated and anxious a child must feel when we ask them to read and follow a set of instructions? When really they may need to see it to be able to understand it? How much more effective would children’s learning be if they had the freedom to choose how to process a task rather than be told how to do it?