The brain of a child is a work in progress – it does not respond the way an adult’s brain does. Studies have shown that the mind of a child is most receptive when it is engaged via the emotions. Hence, positive feelings of enjoyment, security and calm promote learning. And by learning, we do not mean drilling – the best learning strategies are based on students developing active understanding. They need to be able to understand and synthesise information before applying it to any given situation.
Here are 3 tips that you can apply to help your child learn better:
Make learning fun and do not dwell on mistakes or past failures.
Children know these without being constantly reminded and dwelling on the negative tends to create a self-fulfilling prophecy (for a number of well-documented psychological and neurological reasons). If there were mistakes in the past, establish each of these ‘setbacks’ as a ‘set-up’ for future success!
Praise progress and be interested in what your child is doing
Ask them to explain (a) what they are learning and (b) how they are learning it. Explaining new information to another helps to cement it strongly into the long-term memory, because we must verbalise and visualise it in order to construct our explanation. So, do celebrate every victory and they will go to great lengths to keep the accolades coming.
Do not focus all your effort on the limited goal of getting good grades in the exams
They are important, but look at it this way – a good learner will always do well at exams, but someone who excels at ‘cramming’ for exams is usually not prepared to do very much else in life. Do make time to talk – about anything and everything, not just school-work. A child will accept advice and suggestions far more readily, if it is not the only communication they receive.
Written by Mr Brian Caswell, MindChamps‘ Dean of Research & Program Development