Parents naturally want their children to be intelligent and to do well in school and in other related activities. To achieve this parental expectation children need to learn effectively.
Individual differences play a significant role in a child’s willingness and predisposition towards learning.
Encouraging children to learn for the sole purpose of having a competitive edge over their peers may not be very helpful to the child.
Meaningful learning and a growth mindset are more useful for the child’s progress and growth.
The following are proven ways to help an average child learn faster.
Ways to help an average child learn faster
The following will help an average child learn faster:
1 Learning goals
Parents and teachers need to help children define their learning goals. learning goals for children differ at different stages of life.
Passively feeding a child information may not help an average child learn faster, but asking the child what interests him or her in a particular context may be more effective.
For instance, showing a child a book cover or a picture and asking what the child can make out of it. would help you know what and how to teach the child.
2 Board and card games
This may not be applicable to all children, however, children about six years of age and above may benefit from board and card games.
This game allows them to learn independently as much as possible. The games create avenues for them to read, strategise and face challenging situations.
Exposure to games also allows an average child to learn and develop new abilities. Various child prodigies have been discovered via games and other related activities.
Children need to read the rules of the game, learn how to play each game and figure out how to win, by so doing develop certain skills and abilities.
3 Children’s attention span
Children generally do not have a long attention span and are easily distracted. A child’s attention span is two to three times the age of the child.
A five-year-old will have an attention span of ten to fifteen minutes consequently parents should observe their children for some time to determine their attention span.
Once their attention span is known, to help an average child learn it’s better to teach them within that timeframe.
Children with very low attention spans may be stretched progressively for one to two minutes every one to two weeks to increase their attention span.
If a child’s attention span is twenty minutes, for an average child to learn effectively he or she should have 20 minutes learning session followed by a short break.
Regarding break activities, jumping jumps, stretches or walking around are ideal. Video games and favourite toys should be avoided as this might affect their concentration after the break.
4 Learning pit theory
Parents need to teach their children that learning in all spheres of life comes with some difficulties/challenges.
The challenges posed by trying to learn or understand new concepts are vital for learning. The more challenging a concept or work is the deeper the learning pit.
As one understands the work or concept the learning pit becomes shallow, consequently when there is no learning pit then the concept has been learnt.
Children need to understand that these learning pits can be overcome by learning more about the topic, reading more about it or discussing it with those that are more knowledgeable about the topic.
5 Reading atmosphere
Reading is vital for the learning process. Children who have a zeal for reading would likely develop an interest in learning, while Children who have phobia or difficulty with reading, will most likely have learning difficulties.
Reading helps the child to develop a good vocabulary, process information, aid formal communication and improve the child’s ability to learn all subjects.
To help an average child learn faster the child needs to develop good reading habits.
This can be achieved by providing reading materials at home such as novels, newspapers, magazines and so on.
Also, read to your children and observe them read. Allow them to choose which book to read and try to make reading fun for your children.
Most parents make the mistake of leaving reading and learning to be a school affair, this should not be so, learning is a continuous process and should include learning while at home.
6 Allow the child some control over learning
This does not apply to all children, however, children who have achieved some level of independence should be allowed to have some control over their learning.
For example, a child can be allowed to choose which topic of interest to write on.
The more control a child is allowed to have over their learning experience and activities, the more engaged and motivated the child will be.
7 Good communication
To help an average child learn fast encourage them to express their opinion about their education. Create an enabling environment for them to discuss with you any challenges or concerns they may have.
When a child raises any concern or challenge discuss and address the issues in ways that make them feel their opinions matter even when you do not agree with them.
8 Focus on the child’s interests
When learning engages children in their areas and topics of interest, learning becomes fun and the children become more eager to learn.
If you really want to help an average child learn faster, encourage the child to explore topics and subjects that interest him or her.
If he likes dragons, help him find interesting books and stories about dragons. Then challenge him to identify his favourite stories about dragons and tell you about the dragons.
9 Learning styles
Learning is a dynamic process and has different types namely Visual, Auditory, Verbal, Physical, Social, Solitary and so on.
To help an average child learn faster. it is better to introduce different learning styles while teaching because the way a child responds to different methods may vary.
For instance, a child who is predominantly an audio learner will learn more by listening, while a predominantly visual learner will need images and other visual methods to learn.
There are no preferred learning styles, thus it is beneficial to deploy all methods as this will help determine the child’s predominant or preferred method of learning.
10 Share your enthusiasm for learning with your children
Enthusiasm tends to rub off on the children and others around you. If your child sees that you are enthusiastic about learning, they are likely going to become enthusiastic about learning also.
You may have noticed that some children tend to pick similar interests and professions as their parents.
11 Focus on what your children are learning, not their performance
Instead of asking a child what he scored in the mathematics assessment on getting home from school, find out and discuss with him what he learnt that day in school.
Lay more emphasis on his learning than his performance. This has the advantage of allowing the child to grow and develop his learning abilities which may translate to higher grades at school.
Teachers and parents should remember that in a class of students, they are potential footballers, musicians and so on who may not need an A in mathematics or physics to succeed in their carrier.
12 Stay Positive and patient
It can be frustrating when kids are not progressing as their parents wish or expect. This feeling is normal and understandable however in those situations it is better to stay positive and maintain a good relationship with the child.
Resorting to Punishment, threats and so on will not help an average child learn, rather it may strain your relationship with the child which may be very detrimental to the child’s progress, growth and feature.
Remember it is your duty as a parent to ensure your children succeed, adapting more punitive measures may be misinterpreted by the child which may make the child defiant.
13 Celebrate your child’s achievements and be firm with homework rules
This can serve as a tool for the positive feedback principle because celebrating your child’s academic achievements and other related activities will motivate the child to learn more.
To help an average child learn it is important to ensure that the child does his or her homework.
Firm rules should be put in place and the consequences of not doing the homework made known to the child.
If the child fails to do home his or her homework the stated consequences should be applied. If the parent is firm and consistent it will motivate the child to do his or her homework.
14 Focus on your child’s strengths
There is a saying that we move from the known to the unknown. Likewise, It is rewarding to focus on a child’s area of strength and from there he can draw motivation to do well in other areas.
However, focusing on the child’s weakness may produce a negative feedback phenomenon whereby the child may get frustrated and discouraged.
That is not to say that the child’s weak areas should be completely abandoned. Efforts should be made to strengthen his area of weakness while paying adequate attention to his strongholds.
15 Make every day a learning day for your children
As earlier stated in this write-up, learning should be a continuum whether in school or at home.
Children can learn from every activity around them, and ask them questions about their day-to-day encounters ranging from what is happening around them, news, events and so on.
16 Turn failures into learning opportunities
As humans, we all have our ups and downs. This saying also applies to children, they need to be taught that failure is not an invitation to withdraw but simply a sign that more work needs to be done.
They need to understand that failure is not the end of the world, because there are opportunities to improve and do better.
17 Encourage children to stretch themselves
Parents should encourage children to try new things, set new targets and not remain in their comfort zone all the time.
18 Avoid comparisons
Comparing your child with his or her peers can set a wrong precedence for the child if he uses his poor-performing peers as a yardstick to build his self-esteem.
The child may develop maladaptive behaviour if some of his peers constantly have higher grades than him.
Instead of comparing a child’s grades with other people’s, it is better to assess him based on his progress.
For instance, instead of saying, ‘Well done for getting 98% on your English test; did anyone get 100% ?’ simply say ‘That’s a good score. How does it compare to last term’s English test? was it the same or better?
In essence, comparing your child’s grades with his peers or classmates may not be a good measure of learning progress and growth. The emphasis should be on the child’s learning experience and growth.
19 Teach children to ask for help when needed
Very bright children may find it difficult to ask for help in class, these children need to understand that no one is an encyclopedia of knowledge.
They need to know that it is okay to need and ask for help sometimes.
While it’s good for children to solve problems on their own, they need to understand that it is not a sign of weakness to run into difficulties sometimes.
In such instances, they should learn not to be scared or embarrassed to ask for help.
20 Use the right language at all times
As stated earlier, to help an average child learn it is pertinent to give a child some accolades if he or she has done well, however, parents should not use words that will make the child feel he or she has arrived.
For instance, instead of saying you are exceptionally good in English, it is better to say you did well in English. The child needs to know there is always a need for growth and progress.
Helping an average child learn fast can be challenging and frustrating sometimes, but with the right technique, attitude and patience the desired goal can be achieved.
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