Let’s Instill the Drive to Learn in our Kids

Students in North America are “not all that receptive to learning in school. We tend to think that a student’s performance is largely determined by his or her inborn aptitude. In much of the rest of the world, people assume that a child’s effort (or lack of it) is what matters.”

We can learn a lot from the way education works in different parts of the world. In The Drive to Learn: What the East Asian Experience Tells Us about Raising Students Who Excel, Dr. Cornelius Grove looks at the differences seen between student learning here and that of those in East Asian countries.

He defines “receptive to school learning” meaning that a child . . .

  • feels deeply committed to learning in school—is ready;
  • expects to work persistently in order to learn well—is willing; and
  • knows in the process of learning in school—is able.

I can tell you that some students come to kindergarten ready, willing, and able to learn in school. I can also tell you that this drive to learn seems to completely fade in later grades and is mostly absent in students of all grades here in Canada. I have seen it time and time again in my teaching career and it is sad.

I don’t want my students or children to lose the love of learning that they showed before entering school. Despite our best intentions, the culture of learning at school is not what it used to be. It remains strong in some East Asian countries however.

“We don’t have a culture of learning here like they have in other parts of the world. We offload learning to the schools and do little to support our kids in reaching their academic goals.”

It is time to reconsider how education is done in North America. Here, a student often reduces “whatever academic focus he had and [starts to align] with his peers. His parents try to counter this . . . but now it’s an uphill battle.”

It’s a battle we have little chance to winning unless we bring education back under our own control. Any parent can be a great teacher. You’ve taught your baby, toddler, and preschooler a lot already, even if you don’t realize it. It’s time to keep that up, keep your children home, and teach them well.

“A culture of learning isn’t only about how parents, siblings, and other caretakers think and behave as they prepare a child for life in their society. A culture of learning is also about how the child himself learns how to learn.

This is something we can teach much better in the home. There is no need to offload this task to the local school board anymore. In this information age, we can readily find materials to help our children learn absolutely anything. I will provide more information about how you can do that later this week. Stay tuned!