Letting Students Think For Themselves

A student’s diligence with homework has a direct impact on her performance in exams and grades in general. Helping a student with homework can be a tricky thing to do. People often find it difficult to draw the line between helping a student understand a problem and solving the problem for the student. You must be sure to simply aid the student’s learning while letting him think for himself.

A good idea to let the student think for himself is to correct his mistakes later. For example, if the student is working out an arithmetic problem and is making a mistake, let him make it. Don’t stop him before he has made the mistake. Learn from your mistakes, the saying goes, but if you don’t allow the student to make any mistakes, she will take away much less from the experience. Further, when the student realizes that he has come up with the wrong answer, give him time to figure out where he went wrong. Always try and be your student’s last resort so that he can think for himself.

Get your student to explain the concept to you. This is a good way to see if the student has understood the material. Sometimes students can learn a lot more by explaining a concept than listening passively to you instructing them. Moreover, if the student is teaching you, you will be able to pinpoint what areas she may have misunderstood or is having difficulties with. This method is an especially effective form of learning because it forces the child not just to listen to what you are saying but to process that information and explain it in his own terms.

Be sure to keep room for your student’s inputs. If you want your student to think for himself in studies, you should allow him to have an opinion in other matters as well. For example, if someday your student doesn’t want to study a certain subject, accept his decision. Keep in mind that though that respecting your student’s wishes and letting them walk all over you are two different things. You must let him know that he can skip that subject today but will have to do it tomorrow. This way, he will feel realize that he is responsible for his education, not you. A sense of responsibility will boost your student’s ability to think for himself.

Stay sharp and keep in mind your student’s personality and work habits. If your student tends to be careless with his homework and tries to get you to do most of the work, you need to be more strict with him. If your student religiously completes his homework, but one day is simply unable to understand a concept, you should realize that he is having genuine trouble. By understanding a student’s personality, you can also set up the right sort of reward and punishment system to allow the student to finish his homework on his own. In this way, you can ensure that you are merely a support for him and not becoming her crutch.