Teach your child how to learn – not just what to learn.

In spite of catchy (and often cheesy) mission statements from schools, colleges and tuition centres, educational methods are commonly based around memorisation of content – focused on learning specific facts and concepts with a specific exam in mind. Students are expected to memorise a ridiculous amount of information to regurgitate in an exam environment. Even though this method has been used for decades, it has been proved largely ineffective.

 

In the US, Lawrenceville school conducted an experiment to test the effectiveness of an education model based solely on memorisation. Students’ grades from their final exams in June were taken and an average of B+ (87 percent) was found. After their summer vacation, returning students were required to retake a simplified version of their exams (the school removed low-level “forgettable questions”). The results were alarming. The average grade of these simplified tests plummeted to an F (58 percent). Not one student retained mastery of the concepts they had learned the previous term! These findings bring about a concerning questions regarding our approach to teaching students:

 

If what was learned has vanished so quickly from students’ minds – was anything actually learned to begin with?

 

This is a major issue for parents preparing their children for entrance examinations to get their child into their prospective schools. They often try to help their child by encouraging them to memorise all the key information, concepts and topics needed for success in their exams, without acknowledging that this is an ineffective learning method; one that can actually be detrimental in the long term. Even if this method is successful in passing the exams, students often fall behind and experience difficulty in keeping up with peers at their new schools.

 

It is essential, as parents and teachers, that we form a clear education strategy that serves to prepare children for success in life; teaching them how to learn, as much as we teach them what to learn.

 

This is the reason why our classes and courses are aimed at showing your child how to solve problems using creativity and innovation. We believe education should serve to help students find their passions, purpose and drive – whilst setting them up with the skills they need to follow their dreams.

 

We hold Reasoning Workshops and Creative Writing Courses to help unlock your child’s creativity and boost their confidence in how they think, feel and work. We believe the class environment should be fun, engaging and challenging – ensuring they internalise the skill sets and key character traits required for a successful, happy and fulfilling life.

 

Structuring a child’s learning to teach them both what and how to learn can be cumbersome. For this reason, all of our courses follow an independent, set theme; this allows us to make sure your child achieves a high grade in their exams, whilst developing skill sets that will benefit them outside of academics; helping them internalise all they they learn.

 

Two of our themes are summarised below:

 

Theme: Can You Try?

Our ‘Can you try?’ course is focused on building your child’s confidence when facing new challenges. It will encourage them to persevere through difficult tasks and help them harness a positive attitude in regards to solving problems. We consider perseverance and resilience as key character traits that will set your child up for the year ahead; while benefiting them for a lifetime.

For English, this is centred around making sure to answer each and every question – many children miss out entire questions, costing them multiples marks. The theme’s focus revolves around paying attention to context and hazarding estimates even when not absolutely sure of the answer.

In maths, we look at the similarities between questions across the years and identifying the correct process and strategy to use when facing daunting unseen questions. Problem solving can be difficult if you are not confident with style of questioning. By focusing on this aspect, students gain the ability to address word problems and topical related questions, and face the full range of exam questions with much higher levels of confidence.

Reasoning follows a similar approach to maths – by looks at the question type, the correct technique is to try according to the learned steps. For all three subjects, venturing to put down something will gain extra if not all marks. By at least trying according to understood rules, scores can be radically improved in all exams.

Does it Work and Why?

Our ‘Does it work and why?’ course is focused on breaking topics down into easily-digested chunks. It will teach your child to think deeply about any problem or task; looking at the root of a question and understanding how we get from A to Z. It will also encourage your child to reflect on their problem solving methods; understanding why certain methods work better than others and which they should choose.

This is most applicable to maths and reasoning: we look at the steps related to each type of question, giving the students an understanding of where they might go wrong and how the correct steps produce correct answers. This is particularly effective when dealing with multi-step and logic problems in maths and focuses on showing working out in order to reflect and see why the answer must be so. Reasoning looks at how to relate the various types of question to particular logical steps and routines

In English, we look more deeply at authors’ writing techniques and tricks in order to understand their desired intent and thus be in a better position to answer questions that ask for inferential analysis. We also practice implementing similar techniques in creative writing in order to achieve a mature and effective style.

What we can do:

 

Our education system and methods are outdated and largely ineffective. To give our children and students the best opportunity to succeed in life, we must move away from the emphasis on memorisation and instead focus our efforts on teaching children how to learn; nurturing their creativity, problem solving skills and confidence. As a result, their grades are guaranteed to improve and they will be well on their way to a successful, fulfilling future

 

Contact Us:

 

If you have any questions, queries or want advice on how to get the most out of your child’s learning, please feel free to contact us at info@11pluslondon.co.uk or call 0207 384 2792.