This is most likely the all-time favourite question that parents ask on a daily basis, “What did you learn today?”
I’ve heard it repeatedly from others and even myself every time I reach home, “Tell me about your day W, what did you learn?”
And almost 100% of the time, or at least for most children under the age of 12, parents find themselves shaking their heads when they hear, “Nothing…”, “I don’t know”, “I learnt… (blank)”, “Ooh I played this (and that)… blah blah… (and they continue with a list of things that had happened to them, none of which was what you are hoping to hear).”
So is it true that your child has learnt nothing at all? Ask the teacher the same question and see what answers you’ll get and you will know if your child has indeed learnt nothing…
So why is it that they simply couldn’t tell you what they have learnt?
The answer is simple, they don’t know how to summarise.
Think about this, “summarising” is a skill that you have picked up only in your secondary school days. It’s not an easy section to score and you struggled with what was required and what was not.
Children simply don’t have that skill and thus the easiest way out is, “Nothing/I don’t know.”
- Specific questions. Find out, from the teacher, the learning objectives of the program/course/week and ask specific questions like,
- “What did your teacher write on the board today that you can remember?”
- “How many pages of the workbook did you do today?”
- “Which page of the textbook did you guys cover today?”
- “Which letter sound can you remember from class today?”
- “One thing that you can remember that the teacher had said in class.” Give a heads-up before sending them off into class that you are going to ask them this question so they would keep the question in mind to pick out the most memorable pointer to share with you.
These should give you a better idea as to what was learnt in class.
Lastly, of course, ask the teacher. Whatever that they have learnt, are mostly new to them. It’s impossible for them to remember 100% of everything that was taught. Be patient, they will become better than you one day, for now, bear with these junior learners and give them the space and time required to master what’s expected of them.