We talk a lot about better teaching. But what exactly does it mean for a student? Good communication, better preparation and the right tools are obvious factors. But for a student to be inspired and excited by what he or she learns to the extent that he or she feels enriched by it, or believes that it can be translated in to a rewarding career path, there needs to be much more.

Neuroscientist, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang has proof that when a student’s emotions are engaged, their brain looks different. There is activity around the areas involved in memory, meaning making and cognition.

What does this mean for you as a parent?

Even talking about simple concepts as home-chemistry and cooking for instance, can give a whole new dimension to how different substances react with each other. My mother taught me the history of the Ku Klux Klan by involving me in the story of the novel, Gone With the Wind. She knew I loved reading, and found a way to connect what I was studying with my hobby. Obviously, I haven’t forgotten a single detail of the Civil War since!

Finding practical connections between what they learn and life skills can make a student see a subject in a different light. For example, learning maths is useful when learning music, using logic, and even when cracking codes in spy movies! History is full of romance, espionage and battle strategy. When students begin to join the dots, it is likely that they will volunteer to read more about what they’re studying rather than just swallow what is being taught in class.

Your child’s school may be talking about SEL (Social Emotional Learning). This is another case for more emotionally engaged learning. It’s a hot topic right now and one that is revolutionalising the approach to teaching.

What proves that SEL is the game changer when it comes to education is this study in it, it has been found that students who don’t form an emotional bond with their learning environment slowly lose connection and over time it affects their behavior, academic performance and even their health.

It explains why your child does better in some subjects than in others. It’s not only a case of ability. Try it as an experiment. Try finding an aspect of the subject that you can chat about, maybe find articles online to read together and relate to what is being studied. And watch a love for learning kindle itself to life.