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What Did The Olympics Teach Us About How Our Children Can Achieve Success In Education?

An 'unexpected legacy' to inspire our children to learn

Chances are you and your family were spellbound by the drama of the London 2012 Olympics, just like 4.8 billion others around the world. The Games were an phenomenal success, but were there any lessons we can take from them that go beyond sport? Specifically, was there a 'legacy' to help our children achieve more success in their education?

We think so...

The drama came in spades from athletes competing in what would have been the culmination of many years of real 'blood, sweat and tears' often focused into performances that would last only a matter of seconds!

Many of us found ourselves even more emotionally drawn in by the Paralympics. We marvelled at the ability to achieve in feats seemingly impossible given their disability such as in blind football, wheelchair tennis or disabled swimming. Many of those memories will never be forgotten by us and (importantly) our children.

We think there are some valuable parallels between what we witnessed in the Games and how we should think about our children's efforts to succeed in learning. Why? Well, success in learning actually requires many of the same qualities athletes need to succeed on the track. Let's take a moment to consider this in detail -

Learning lessons from athletes will help your child's education

Characteristics of a Successful Athelete Relevance to Our Children's Learning
Dedication, Discipline and a Determination to Try Their Best Children will naturally put off homework and avoid learning. It's up to us parents to encourage them to develop good habits. By doing this early on, you'll be doing your child (and yourself) a big favour.
Enthusiasm and Motivation Take the time to encouraging your child with praise for their efforts and success. You could give your child small rewards such as TV time. Most young children don't really know why they go to school - telling them why will help motivate them.
Bravery and Confidence (since aiming for success could end in failure) Can you remember avoiding putting your hand up for a teacher's question in case you got it wrong?
Learning from mistakes is an important and valid way of learning!
So learning does require bravery to try and confidence not to worry if we don't get it right first time.
Being Organsed and Planning Ahead Leaving homework or revision until the last minute often ends in tears (literally). Take the time to explain why being organised and planning ahead is better. Also, rather than just doing things for them, encourage them to develop good habits early on for things like packing their school bag and knowing when their homework is due.
Practicing to Improve Skills "Practice makes perfect" is a essential part of learning.
Good Technique Good technique is as important in learning as it is in any sport. We have lots of smart methods for learning including how to practice and exam technique. A good 'learning technique' will save your child hours of effort and will result in better exam grades.
High Expectations There are lots of parents who try to be kind to their children by encouraging them to aim for 'average' to avoid effort and potential disappointment. The real danger of this is, if your child does not meet this target, they end up 'below average'. For your child's sake aim high and prepare them well.
Supportive Parents
(last but by no means least)
In sport you will have seen evidence of this by the thanks given to parents after a win in interviews. In education this is also known as fact - when parents support their child's learning, the child always achieves more.

How can you use this information to help your child succeed?

Make sure you take the time to explain the relevance of each of these characteristics to your child. Draw from examples from your own experiences. Explaining these points to young children is particularly effective because good habits can be easily formed and years of bad ones avoided.

Remember, children do forget easily so do go over the same points every now and again especially at times when they may be relevant to your child.

At EasyStreetLearning we've drawn a lot of our successful approach to learning from ideas developed in sports.

Mo Farah's message to us about succeeding

Many heroes and role models were created during the games, Mo Farah was one of them. In an interview he gave just seconds after winning his 5000m Gold Medal, he looked directly into the camera to give us a message he felt was important - "Anything's possible. It's takes just hard work and grafting."

Mo knows what it takes to succeed - in the previous Olympics he failed to even qualify for the finals. He learnt from his mistakes and decided he needed to make some big changes to succeed at London 2012.

As parents we can help our children by explaining this advice to them and making learning a family priority.

Some inspiration to help your child make the most of themselves

people watch me and
get inspired to go
and achieve something

My parents were not
the kind of people to spoil me

If you have
a disability or not,
you can do anything through practice and determination.

Gold medals, mini-treats & praise: The amazing effect of rewards

We have all seen the pride of athletes on the podium receiving their Gold medals.

Similarly (but on a smaller scale!) we all have a lasting memory of the pride we felt of doing something really well. Getting praise in any form, is a major motivator which makes us strive for even more success. Success breeds success and also enhances our self-esteem.

Get your young child into good habits early on with small treats, praise and lots of encouragement.

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