Consider it like a brick wall, if you do not lay the foundations you have little to build from and will therefore struggle with more difficult concepts further down the line (or further up the wall)
These do not come out of nowhere. They are articulately placed by our parents or caregivers and by learned experience. It is these rules that dictate our decisions and our choices.
My favourite example of this is from my own childhood. We had an open fire place, and I was explicitly told that: “fire is dangerous, and will hurt you if you touch it!”. This is the parameter put into place to dictate my actions in the future concerning fire. At a BBQ, I saw a man smoking (for the first time in my life) and was extremely distraught at the concept of his “tiny fire” so close to his face. I was promptly assured that “this sort of fire is ‘okay’”. This is an example of my parameter being changed and my understanding being improved about the concept of fire.
In early education (3-5), the construction of parameters is very important to gaining conceptual understanding of the world. Everything is very much black and white, yes or no answers, as anything else is met with confusion. Try telling a child not to do something you have let them do before. In junior primary (5-8) these set parameters are challenged with the development of higher cognitive functions and more refined motor skills. The concept of abstract thought creeps in and can generally bombard one with a whole lot of “why?”. Most children this age understand the earth rotates, but can they say why it goes dark? The question of “why” is designed to gain further understanding about their pre-set parameter. “Because” is never the right answer. You are doing nothing for their cognitive development or their social respect.
Once they reach an age where their parameters have matured, they can learn to teach themselves. For some, this becomes a lifelong habit. For many others, it can only take them so far. This is where the “expert” steps in. Children can only go so far on the parameters they have, and need assistance in breaking them down to alter or construct new concepts (like numbers less than zero!). These are the roles that parents, teachers and tutors play. We are guides in the learning process, ensuring they continue down the correct tangent of knowledge construction.
Interpersonal relationships between the expert and the student are extremely important. We all know what if we enjoy the subject, or the person teaching it to us, it becomes a lot easier or perceived as more manageable. A student needs to want to learn, to learn most effectively, otherwise all you can hope for is an assortment of displaced facts in one’s head.
We pride ourselves on compatibility and relate ability with our students and tutors. The interpersonal relationships are extremely important in personal cognitive and social development of people. We aim to foster lifelong learning patterns and instil a desire to consistently learn beyond the parameters and challenge what we already know.
It is only when you realise how much is out there, that you realise how much you don’t know..
Composed by Karin Erikkson- Green
Karin is our Tutor and Client Liaison Officer on the Central Coast and Newcastle Regions. Karin is an Undergraduate Student at the University of Callaghan studying a Bachelor of Education/ Bachelor of Science. Her passion lies within educating people; regardless of age and academic level.