With the recent lock-downs due to COVID-19, the focus on learning delivery has shifted from the traditional classroom and teacher-led style to digital student self-directed learning. As teachers scramble to determine the most effective way of delivering their lessons, students too had to adapt to this new way of learning. The Internet is a double-edged sword. It provides vast amounts of information where anyone can find answers for everything but can also overwhelm and make learning challenging.
How do we create a space for our children to learn effectively and retain key knowledge for application in their life? Here are 3 quick brain-hacks:
1) Build Associations
The brain’s recall works by retrieval paths. To retain key information, teach your child to create the habit of remembering and not looking.
Looking is when he/she looks at information and tries to understand it as-is. For example, when we copy down the solution to a Maths problem. We look at what the answer is, copy it step by step and then memorise the solution. When we see the question in a test, we try to then recall the solution and write it down.
Remembering however relies on associations. In tackling the Maths problem, we allow our child to look at the solution, and then instead of copying it out step by step, get him/her to write out what they know they would do. This helps you to identify which parts has been retained and determine the missing parts that need their links reinforced.
Check out this video on methods to build associations
2) Break It Down
It can be challenging to settle your child down and get them into the rhythm of learning. To maximise that opportunity, you may be tempted to squeeze as much learning as you can into that space. Cramming is ineffective as information decays within 20 minutes to a day of learning. You may then feel frustrated with your child, and this doesn’t help them embrace learning.
Breaking down the learning into bite-size portions and then getting them exposed to the information repetitively in different ways helps store the information in their subconscious. Learn more about spaced learning here
3) Embrace the Desirable Difficulties
We often think that we know better as the adult, but truly children should be allowed to choose how they learn. When we give them a say, we enable them to develop the skill of learning independently.
If your child is feeling demoralised and defeated in a certain subject, don’t push and impose. Rather, challenge them to identify an area in the subject which is difficult but yet inspiring enough for them to want to tackle it. Then give them the aid they need through free recall and the brain hacks above to build their confidence. They will not only be more motivated to learn, it is also a way of priming the brain to better tackle the ‘harder’ learnings to come!