What can you do at home to keep your children academically engaged?
Encourage activities that generate higher order thinking skills?
Allow your children to discuss events, debate on issues, analyze and evaluate documentaries, or synthesize articles read? In order to raise children who are strongly academically inclined, we must establish a culture of learning that keeps them academically engaged. An excellent activity that parents can do at home is to involve the entire family in an excellent discussion technique; gallery walk.
Here is an example
- Locate an interesting current event article. Read the article and generate questions. Post these questions around the room, with Chart paper next to it. Questions should be in several categories; reflective, evaluative, and analytical. If the family is large, establish small groups of 2 or 3 and assign each group to a beginning question. The group reads the question and then responds on the chart paper.
- All groups should rotate, but as they get to a set of questions they must read, dialogue on what the previous group’s response was, and provide feedback. Groups then move on to another set of questions, and do the same. [Note that each group must have a designated recorder and a person who monitors the discussion by ensuring that everyone has valuable input – collaboration].
- Finally, all groups return to where they first started; initial question. They should read all the feedback garnered from other groups. They are allowed, based on the feedback given from other groups, to refine their initial responses. They can do so by adding to another chart paper. All group members, the family, meet to report on their final answers to the initial questions.
The premise is that all groups initially respond, and other family members have an opportunity to add to that discussion.