Practical Dad

PracticalDad Notes on Teaching - Setting Up For Success

One of a father's primary jobs is as teacher, and successful teaching sometimes requires preparation.  Even for something as simple as tying a shoe since breaking it down into teachable component parts is daunting.

Even after several kids, I had to sit down and think about what wold work for teaching a child to tie shoes.  What I recalled most was that it's like teaching other tasks, you have to set them up to succeed.

  • Keep the time frame short.  The task for a child can be harder than it appears and too much at one time can be self-defeating.
  • Break the process into smaller parts so that even if the shoe isn't tied, he can be praised for what he did accomplish.
  • Don't try to teach when you know that you have to leave.  He probably won't get it immediately and if you have to tie the shoe prior to departure, then it creates a sense of failure.  Find a few moments to spend at other times.
  • Avoid shoes with velcro straps that can get in the way.
  • Let them practice with the shoes in their laps and off of their feet, then let them work on it after they've mastered the mechanics.
  • Plan for a date for him to do the job himself before leaving and make sure that he has some extra time.

And then praise the bejeezus out of him.  For a job well done, he deserves it.

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