Last Thursday I drove my oldest daughter to the dentist, and on the way home we had an interesting conversation that began about a toothbrush, turned into an economics lesson, and ended up with her asking me if she could learn how to type.
The intriguing part about this seemingly random chain of events is I have been trying (albeit passively) to get her interested in typing, as a gateway to learning technology, for a few years. My failure in all previous attempts, as I now realize, was being direct. Although, the reason I never pushed it more intentionally is because I wanted her to show an interest and not feel forced to do it because of me.
So over the weekend, I gave her a laptop and found a website that used a game to teach you where all the letters are. I initially thought this method would work best because to me, it was a non-threatening and “fun” way of learning. I also assumed a traditional method would be too boring and she would lose interest.
However, after a few minutes I asked her if she wanted to continue with the game or try something different, explaining she could just look at stationary letters on the screen and type them. To my surprise she chose this option, so I redirected her to another website.
She did extraordinarily well for it being her first time, and after about half an hour I had to pull the computer away from her so we could have lunch. Needless to say, I was thrilled that she not only took to it easily, but she enjoyed practicing.
The other takeaway for me was a good lesson in teaching. My first assumption about how she would want to learn were wrong, but by giving her another option, she was able to do better and enjoy it more. Sometimes I forget the method and results of learning are not as important as simply providing a good environment for it. Also, by giving her the freedom to choose her own path toward her goal, it gave her a feeling of ownership over her learning.
As she continues and we track her progress, I’m excited to see what she does, and even more excited to do it together.