Have a quick read of this article by the Khan Academy (free internet learning) founder. While I agree with Khan’s premise that we should  acknowledge our children’s/students’/own learning efforts and struggles, there is also room for acknowledging their innate talents.

Let’s add to this conversation the openness and flexibility of non-dualism. Non-dualism is best understood as both/and, instead of either/or. It means comprehending all possibilities versus limiting ourselves to two. Current thinking is generally dualistic, or focused on two, either/or ways of understanding. Khan presents his argument as if there is a ‘best’ way to engender learning; let’s embrace all authentic ways of acknowledging learning and its benefits. Khan encourages flexing our brains. Stretching our minds to employ non-dualistic thinking builds brain capacity and flexibility. Parents’ and teachers’ physical and mental response flexibility foster the same in children.

I enjoy recognising my son’s learning by expressing my own experience of his process versus assuming responsibility for or judgement of his. I can do this by saying, “I get excited when I see you put a lot of effort into reading that big book. Do you feel proud of yourself?” Now he will occasionally say, “I feel proud of myself for. . . ” I swell with satisfaction when I sense his growing self-assessment vs dependency on me to reflect his learning process.

Let me know how you enjoy engendering learning in your child(ren).

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Marta Fisch is a family and individual therapist, supervisor, and trainer. She loves playing with her son, dancing, and riding her bike to work. She's involved in community sustainability initiatives, which brings her hope and a sense of belonging. Marta grew up in California and has lived in New Zealand / Aotearoa for 20 years. You can find out more on her website

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