Thinking and Learning Skills
Most Schools Do Not Have Subjects Called ‘Learning How To Think’ or ‘Learning How to Learn’!
It is incredible in the 21st Century that our education systems devote very little time to teaching students specific THINKING and LEARNING STRATEGIES. As a result, our children are often forced to ‘reinvent the wheel’ as far as thinking and learning skills are concerned. So it is not surprising that many children develop inefficient or ineffective methods of thinking and learning. And remember that thinking and learning strategies are used in every area of the school curriculum, and every area of our lives.
At High Performance Learning We Teach Specific Thinking and Learning Skills in Every One of the Sessions We Have with Our Clients.
Before We Teach the Content: We Always Teach the Best Way to Think About and Learn the Content So it is Remembered for the Long Term.
The Language Most People Use to Talk About Thinking and Learning Often Sends Their Children Down the Wrong Track
Because people don’t talk much about the various ways we think and learn, most parents (and teachers) have a number of misconceptions about thinking and learning that they pass on to their children. This means that their children often start their schoolwork and homework without clear strategies, and with the wrong Mind Set. This means that their learning is not very efficient or effective.
Some common misconceptions about learning include:
- Remembering Rather Than Understanding: Many parents equate poor marks with poor memory of the facts so they encourage their children to put more effort into remembering. However, with most types of information, memory is much stronger and lasts longer if the effort is put into understanding the concepts and the language involved.
- Practice Makes Perfect: Going over and over the same information (rote learning) leads only to short-term or medium-term memory unless the practice is kept up indefinitely. This is obvious with multiplication tables and doing operations with fractions – most children need to relearn these every year and have usually forgotten them again by the start of the next year.
- My Child Is Lazy and Needs to Try Harder: Parents often feel that their child is not trying hard enough if he/she is not doing well at school. The opposite is usually the case – because when their child is using ineffective methods to learn he/she can put in enormous amounts of effort but get nowhere. In the short term this can make them tired and irritable. In the longer term, they often give up because no matter how much effort they put in they don’t get any success. On the surface, someone who doesn’t do much work appears lazy, but just putting pressure on them without teaching them HOW to work more effectively is counter-productive and often leads to behaviour problems.
- My Child Has a Poor Memory: Memory skills are just that – skills – skills that can be learned. There are two types of memory skills – skills that enable you to get knowledge into your mind, and skills that enable you to get what you know out WHEN YOU NEED IT. Weaknesses in either of these skills will give the appearance of poor memory. These weaknesses can be fixed with the right sort of training.
- My Child Is Not Very Smart: IQ tests are not (and never were) an accurate measure of a child’s potential, especially if the child is struggling with language problems in areas such as speech, listening, reading and spelling. Unfortunately, many educational psychologists, teachers and parents treat low scores on IQ tests as a reason to give up helping the child because they think there is no hope. Many of the world’s most successful people in business and other areas did not realise their potential until after they left school. The ability to learn and think better can be learned – it is never too late for anyone to improve their learning and thinking skills if they are given the right training.
Good Learners Always Think About HOW They Will Learn Something BEFORE They Start Learning It
Good learners use a variety of strategies to learn. More importantly, they need a conscious understanding of these strategies so they can match the right strategy to the learning task. Very few adults or children have this awareness of the different ways to learn things so they tend to use the same methods to learn most things. At High Performance Learning we teach our clients various learning strategies, and when to use each one. This way our clients become much more efficient and effective learners and are able to perform much better in tests and exams. Of course their whole lives will also become much more satisfying.