At Jumbo’s kindergarten, we use the concept of ‘visible learning’ for our teaching. Visible learning means that learning must be seen and obvious, not assumed. Teachers are aware of the influence they are having on their students and from the evidence of this impact, they make decisions about how to adjust their teaching.
We evaluate our teaching process by looking at the learning through the eyes of the children. We get to know them, their likes, interests, what they want to learn about and how they want to learn it.
Then we work to meet the children where they are at and offer a diverse range of methods, pedagogy and environments for learning. After teaching, we assess the visibility of the student’s learning and identify exactly what part of the teaching process worked.
It is a valuable education approach that we thought we’d share with our families to implement at home. You can adapt these strategies in your way to help your child through their learning journey.
7 Tips to Implement ‘Visual Learning’ at Home
1. Setting Goals
Children love the feeling of success. Set goals every day that need to be achieved, for example, folding the laundry, reading two books, watering and caring for the garden, practising the alphabet or name writing.
Daily goals should be communicated at the start of every day with plans and routines that will follow. By doing so, children will know what to expect throughout the day, the order of the day and what they need to do to be successful.
Goals can be verbally communicated or visually shared through a picture diary or daily planner. As you progress through the day continue to inform children of what is coming up, for example, “After lunch, we will read a book and then rest and relax”.
2. Demonstrating and Modelling
Children must know what is expected of them. This can be expressed verbally and shown through modelling and demonstrating expectations, routines and activities.
Demonstrations and modelling can take place with almost every activity and help in checking for understanding. For example, if making play-dough, the adult acting as the demonstrator would have their own set of utensils and the child would have their own.
Through a step-by-step demonstration from an adult, young children are being supported in taking ownership and responsibility for their resources, materials, product and their learning. Children are provided with opportunities to ask for assistance, ask questions and compare what they are working on to the more knowledgeable other (the adult).
Children love asking questions, it’s one of their favourite things to do! Answers can be provided in stages, prompting children to think about where to find answers on their own and support them in researching.
Asking children questions helps them reflect on their thinking and learning. Try asking these types of questions, you will be amazed at the answers:
- “What other approaches could we take?”
- “What do we need to think about?”
- “What have we learned?”
- “What helped you learn?”
- “What makes you say that?”
- “What if…?”
- “What could we do differently?”
4. Expanding Learning Opportunities
Expose young children to opportunities to encounter, engage with, and elaborate on new knowledge and skills. By focusing on specific interests and likes, children can experience deeper and more meaningful learning.
For example, if there is an emerging interest in the ocean or sea life try virtual ocean/aquarium tours or live streams, reading books on marine life/ocean, caring for a pet fish, researching ocean life, spelling ocean words, drawing/painting oceans and sea life.
5. Communicating and Collaborating
Keeping an active dialogue is crucial during for young children. Children are some of the most active speakers in the kinder room and their voice needs to be heard as they learn from home too.
Communicating with young children at times may be challenging, but through collaboration and patience, a lot can be achieved. Encourage conversation and dialogue with your child as they play, negotiate roles, offer choices and share experiences with them.
As adults, we often reflect and think about the highs and lows of our day. Reflection is also critical in young developing minds.
Reflections can take place immediately after activities, by asking questions, for example, “What did you like the most about doing this activity?” or “What are your thoughts now that you’ve accomplished this activity?”. Reflection can also take place at the end of every day by discussing how the day went, activities, books read, meals, the weather and so on.
7. Giving Feedback
Feedback is one of the most powerful influences in learning and achievement. When providing feedback, especially to young children it is important to be concise, honest and true. Look at what has been done well and highlight that to the little ones, praise them for their success and achievement.
Offer feedforward on what they can improve on next time and how they can improve. For example, if your child loves using Lego and has constructed a house, praise them for their amazing construction and ask them if they can build a different house with windows, or a chimney, or a garden.
In summary, remember to:
- Explain to children what they will be learning and how
- Establish goals which are understood by young children
- Demonstrate to children what they have to do and how they can be successful
This article was contributed by Anna – Kindergarten teacher and passionate academic!