The book provides guidance for parents with children aged 7-14. Identify – Connect – Explore is the approach used to allow parents to coach their children. It is all about asking questions and listening very carefully to the answers. It involves using our guidance on what to look for, and encourage, in a child’s ‘inner voice’.
Succeed at Secondary has over 300 IDENTIFY questions to help you go beyond “How was school today?” e.g. How happy are you to be a group leader in class? How do your friends revise for tests? What happens to pupils who are disorganised in school?
Knowing your child’s timetable is the first step. Questions that IDENTIFY details of the school day help your child tell you more. Details of one day provide a start point for conversations in the days that follow. All you have to do is listen and ask another question e.g. how did Sam cope with the history presentation this morning?
Questions that IDENTIFY aspects of your child’s inner voice can help you understand what you need to focus on to influence learning attitudes. Is your child a perfectionist? A child who wants each piece of work to be perfect may struggle to manage time and the pressure that comes with national exams. A child who spends too much time ‘colouring in’ may learn very little.
Good conversations, and active listening, can encourage a child to talk more about their thoughts and feelings. Parents and teachers who connect with a child’s ‘inner voice’ can influence attitudes, build confidence and help ‘grow an adult’. If the child is willing to talk, and volunteers more information about feelings and beliefs, then the conversations may be valuable.
Parents and teachers can be tempted to do less listening than they should. Offering solutions may not be as useful as offering strategies if you are trying to ‘grow an adult’. Parents may feel unprepared to respond to conversations about school and learning. The solution is to ask more questions and think about what the answers are indicating about the child’s inner voice.
Teachers and parents can coach learning by bringing adult experience to the conversation. It is important to remember that we are ‘teaching’ children whether we mean to or not. Adults are behaviour models for children. A learning coach needs to reflect on what needs to be done to ‘grow an adult’. If you want a child to manage their emotions you will need to do the same yourself.