This was probably our first talk by an invited guest, and Prof Gary Confessore was no ordinary speaker, judging from his luminous career in the academics, especially in the areas of self-directed learning and life-long learning.
Judging from the good turn out (about 40 people), despite many who had no idea where Kota Kemuning was, proves that people are seriously looking into alternative options for learning for their children. Why did people take the trouble to come attend the talk. Some came from as far as Seremban and Penang!
Different people came for different reasons, but they all came to seek answers and solutions to their children’s learning issues. Like the mother who wanted to know what options she has for her dyslexic child who cannot fit into the schooling system. Another mother wanted to know whether it would be a right decision to send her child to a homeschooling centre. A father wanted to know how kids’ learning styles are profiled and categorized.
Prof Confessore handledthe session very well. He spent time listening to the parents and concerns and addressed them one by one- patiently. He spoke about the importance of parents role in a children’s education. There were also questions about homeschooling to which he was express that homeschooling over the past 20 years have produced (in America at least), students who excelled in academics and overall education. Many people were suprised how this could happen without the presence of “trained” teachers. When Prof Confessore eluded the principles of learning autonomy, it was clear that learning about how a child learns make a lot of difference.
While we are not qualified to summarize Prof’s talk (the academic aspect), here are some places and sites you could read up on:
1. Google “Hammond and Collins”,lots of resources
2. Check out the “Learner Autonomy Profile (LAP)” at http://www.hrdenterprises.com
3. A recommended reading will be “Five Perspectives on Teaching in Adult and Higher Education”by Daniel Pratt.
To conclude, Prof Confessore has this advice to parents, that whatever decisions or plans we make for our children, bear in mind that they are not forever because things change, and so do our kids. We can only make temporary decisions for them, bearing in mind that things and situation change. We have to take our children’s true happiness into consideration whether or not we decide to homeschool, unschool or school them. We cannot over plan for them, but we can ensure that they way they learn bring out the best potentials in them! Everyone, whether or not they have learning dysfunction, has the ability to shine if we give them the chance to do so!