Do it Right or Do it Over!
Throughout the month of December, we’ve focused on First Time Listening, which is an important skill for children to practice and develop. We aim to help our students become the best listeners, so that they are able to focus and follow directions properly. This skill is crucial to success in Karate, School, at Home, and anywhere else our kids may go!
First Time Listening requires the 3 Steps of “Listen, Think, Do” to ensure that you fully comprehend what you were asked to accomplish. Immediate action is always beneficial to ensuring success with First Time Listening!
When First Time Listening skills and the 3 Steps are employed, children of all ages are able to successfully complete tasks, including, but not limited to, chores, schoolwork, and practice drills. Being a good First Time Listener helps teachers, instructors, and most importantly, YOU, the parents by saving you time throughout the day!
Do it Right…
As previously stated, part of First Time Listening means following all of the given directions closely, completely, and correctly. If focus is maintained throughout the entire process, then doing so should be a breeze! That is, unless the instructions call for more complicated procedures. For children, following more complex or layered directions can pose a challenge, especially for our younger ones. We recommend that students utilize the action plan strategy that we discussed in last week’s blog (“First Time Listening”), when instructions are not so simple.
In classes, we always make sure to keep our instructions clear and concise, which can change depending on belt level and age. For our Little Dragons, who are between the ages of 4 and 6, we try to keep our directions for drills as simple as possible, as following multi-step instructions that require extended focus and memory can be difficult for kids under 6.
In addition to keeping instructions simple, we also make sure to use simpler terminology and vocabulary. We do this not only because they may not understand a lot of the bigger words, but they may also have trouble remembering bigger, multisyllabic words that they already know. We only have them try multi-step drills (do 5 jumping jacks, then 10 ABC taps, then take a seat) when they have shown the ability to follow simple drills proficiently.
If your young ones have trouble following layered instructions, it might be best to have them follow one thing at a time. For example, if you need them to keep their room tidy, tell them to first pick up any trash and throw it out. Once they have completed that, then have them put away toys and other items where they belong. As they complete each step individually, the next one can be added on. This will help children practice following single directions with ease. Once they master this skill, then you can have them try more complex instructions, like having them clean their room all by themselves.
For our older students, we challenge their listening abilities by purposefully giving them instructions that may be complex, or require focused thought to follow through. We understand that they may still have a bit of trouble following through completely, but it makes for good first time listening practice.
If you listen in our classes, you might hear us give instructions for water breaks. It may sound simple enough, but this often takes many steps to remember and do properly. For instance, since water breaks typically happen between group/partner drills and curriculum, we might give the instructions to first neatly clean up all the materials we used for the drill, then grab their drink break (which has multiple steps on its own), and then come back on the floor and line up by belt level for forms. For Gold and Green belts, this set of instructions might be a bit challenging, but we have them practice it every class. Eventually, by the time they are Purple or Blue belts, they have mastered the water break protocol.
For older children, it’s a good idea to have them practice following more complex instructions so they can feel comfortable and confident when faced with these types of situations outside of the home. Doing so will help them out on the floor in Karate, but also in school classrooms. Furthermore, it will allow them to develop and master the skill set of First Time Listening, which will contribute to their future success!
Do it Over
We all make mistakes from time to time, and that’s ok! We reassure our students that there is nothing wrong with making a mistake, because it can be turned into an opportunity for growth. However, we remind our students that any given mistake should ideally only be made once, because they should learn from it, and make sure they don’t do it again in the future.
The best way to learn from a mistake is to– you guessed it– do it over! That’s right, when a student makes a mistake during class, no matter how small, we encourage them to redo the task until they get it right. If mistakes are left unfixed, it is much harder to use them as a learning experience. Doing it over until it’s correct makes sure that children not only know the mistake they made, but that they also know what they should and need to do to fix it. When a mistake is made on a form, for example, our instructors are always quick to have the student redo it the right way. That way, when it comes time for green stripe and belt testing, they can do the form correctly!
This practice can be applied to all aspects of our kids’ lives, especially at school. If they get a few questions wrong on a homework assignment, it’s a good idea to revisit those problems and figure out the correct solution. Even if the assignment can’t be resubmitted or regraded, redoing the questions properly ensures that they learn the material properly. Then, when those same questions or concepts appear on a test, they are prepared and able to give the right answer!
We recommend that, no matter the mistake, children should redo the instructions until they are able to follow them completely and accurately. Whether it’s practicing a form, doing homework, or cleaning their room, it’s important they learn how to do it right. Though doing it over may not necessarily be “First Time Listening,” it is still great practice as it conditions them to try their best to follow all directions correctly the first time, that way they don’t have to keep doing it over!
First Time Listening is something we reinforce for all of our students on the mat during classes. At home, though, you can help your children by utilizing the same concepts we have just outlined! For younger kids, start by having them practice simple, one-step directions. When they master that, you can have them try two- or three-step instructions, or even more. For older children, give them more complex directions to follow. This will help them with thinking, and being able to complete harder tasks. In addition, it will also help them become more independent. And of course, be sure to have them do it right, or do it over no matter how old they are!
To sum it up, First Time Listening is a very important skill for any child to develop and practice. To help them master this concept, have them redo the instructions if a mistake is made, until they do it the right way. That will help them learn to follow directions accurately, and condition them to want to get instructions right on the first try. Mistakes are inevitable, and an essential part of life and learning, so be gentle with kids when they make mistakes. Their bodies are still growing, motor skills are still emerging, and brains are still developing. Having them practice this philosophy– Do it Right or Do it Over– is a fantastic way to help our youth grow into smart, capable, and independent people!
Do you practice doing it right or doing it over?
What other ways can we help our kids practice First Time Listening?