It’s a shame that children don’t get the chance to talk more in class. Or be listened to. Because talking is a valuable aid to learning that home educators get to make full use of. It develops many aspects of their children’s education.
Thinking – the most valuable of all life skills a child could have is the ability to think. Discussing a subject, inviting their ideas, posing questions, are some of the best ways to get a child thinking. Thinking is where our intelligence is gestated. Thinking about a subject is essential to develop understanding. And it’s enhanced by talking.
Understanding – this only begins when a child can view a subject in various ways, think about it, put it in their own words. Through talking about something children really begin to have their own understanding of it. Encouraging talk encourages understanding. A good way to encourage talk is through questioning.
Questioning – develops thinking too. Questioning is an important part of learning and understanding. The opportunity to question makes children proactive learners rather than passive ones who never move beyond being spoon fed. Encouraging them to ask their own intelligent questions helps develop other vital learning skills like their ability to observe and analyse.
Observing and analysing – Encouraging observation and analysis through talk helps children develop thinking skills along with the ability to discuss, argue, reason, and disagree without falling out. Children need to be talking in order for these processes to take place. This also keeps them engaged.
Engaged – children are learning children. Talking helps this happen. Children who are told to be quiet and are talked at quickly disengage. Children who are listened to and encouraged to talk remain more engaged. Part of being engaged is listening.
Listening – we need to listen so children learn to listen. Listening is part of the talking process. They need the chance to talk and us to listen. This is part of respect and other important social skills.
Social skills – you cannot have well developed social skills if you cannot hold a conversation. This requires kids to talk. You cannot develop conversation skills without talking and listening. And this develops use of language.
Language – and vocabulary can be developed more through talking than it can through writing. It is a precursor to writing. Talking is the original medium through which language use develops. But we tend to forget that through obsession with written language more than spoken. Children need opportunities to talk and discuss with adults as well as other children for their language development.
Their education is not complete without the opportunity to do so.