The Joy of Language logo

Teach With the End in Mind

Many times children don’t know what the end goal is. We teach them many things during the day that are seemingly unrelated before eventually being able to use that information in a functional way. For many children, keeping the end in mind greatly increases learning of the skills that are needed in order to produce that goal. An engineer friend of mine said that he had four years of calculus in college. But it wasn’t until the fourth year that it really made sense and he knew why he needed to know it so well. Often we need to begin at the end in order for learning new tasks to make sense to youngsters.

We often spend time breaking down goals into small, manageable chunks for children. This is a wonderful strategy, but we must also always keep reminding the child of the end goal. Putting toys away, finishing up what he is doing, and getting his jacket out of the closet are all means to the end, which may be something like getting ready to go with Daddy to pick Mommy up from work. Work backwards from the goal and have your child figure out what he needs to do. Then, once your child becomes accustomed to thinking like this, you will be amazed at his independence.

child brushing teeth