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Education and Learning

11 Effective learning approaches for older children

Carol
11 to 16 years

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11 Effective learning approaches for older children

Nowadays a child has too many distractions in the form of media, social network and video games. It is quiet challenging for parents to keep the child focused on studies. But, there are a few approaches that can make learning interesting. Here, we round up some tips that can be tried at home.
1. Learning style: Each child has his own unique learning style. Learning styles can be broadly categorised as aural (auditory-musical-visual), visual, kinaesthetic, verbal, logical, social or solitary learners. A child will have a combination of styles with one dominant learning style. So finding the child's dominant learning style would help us choose the suitable aides/ tools or methods for learning. For example, if a child is an aural learner, he could learn and remember a complex terminology by coming up with a tune and singing a song that uses those terms, and recording the song. It will be easier for him to recollect the concept later.
2. Technology: There are numerous apps and websites available that provide abundant information. Using 3D apps, educational videos, drawings, models as learning aid for visual learners could be effective. e.g 3D heart app shows the function of the heart with blood flowing through the heart chambers which even a child in primary class could understand clearly. But avoid the usage of videos or CDs for children who are less than 7 years old even if they are educational. (Small children need stimulation in all parts of the brain but video games or videos only stimulate the brain region that controls visual and movement because of which the other regions responsible for learning, thinking, behaviour and emotion could become underdeveloped.) Little ones just get carried away with colors, sound and visual effects and the purpose of learning gets lost.
3. Mnemonics: Use mnemonics to create mental imagery in order to make it easy to recollect the hard terminologies in science and math. For my son who is a visual and kinaesthetic learner, I use a wide range of mnemonics where ever possible. One of the mnemonics I use, to explain the imperial system of volume conversion is a pictorial representation with a BIG G (gallon) that will have 4 Qs (4 quarts in a gallon) and each Q will have 2 Ps (2 pints in a quart) and each P will have 2 Cs ( 2 cups in a pint). The pictorial representation will look like 4 faces encircled in a G. My son finds it very easy to calculate the total no of cups in a quart or no of pints in 2 Gallons or any volume conversion.

4. Real-life evidence: Ask your child to look out for at least 3 evidence in real life scenario where the concept they already learnt, is applied. For example if the child is learning about reverse osmosis, let him find out where this process is used. Real life connection would make learning even more meaningful.
5. Creating models: Encourage the child to be an inventor/a solution provider. After learning a concept, he could think of some problems or difficulties he faces in his daily life. Encourage him to come up with a solution for the problem by making a model. e.g solution to avoid carrying heavy load of books to school, feeding the pet on time, solution for reaching the topmost shelf without having to climb on a chair or stool. The solution can be in a form of a physical model, a drawing, a presentation, iMovie or a video. Ask the child questions about the model till you are convinced with the solution.
6. Hands-on: Nothing can beat hands-on experience. Encourage the child to experiment (if applicable). During the experiment, teach him to follow a process in order - OBSERVE, ANALYSE, COMPARE, PREDICT, EXPLORE/EXPERIMENT, COLLECT DATA, RECORD, INTERPRET DATA, CONCLUDE. Do not feed him with the results. Encourage him to come up with his own conclusions. The result may be an unexpected one due to the error in execution but it can be corrected later. Before learning the outcome, let him learn to analyse and relate what they have already learnt, and justify his conclusion.
7. Project based learning: Children can take up a project for any subject to gain in-depth knowledge. For example in math say the child is learning about the data interpretation or trend analysis. He can be given a certain amount of imaginary money and asked to buy a few number of company shares (imaginary). Ask him to record the fluctuations in the share prices. After a month or 2, let the child prepare a trend and analyse the reason for the fluctuations. Or for simpler project, the child can start recording the flight ticket prices over a period and try to analyse the reasons for fluctuation in prices. Or a project to find out how pure is the water they drink by taking different samples and conducting different tests on the samples or if the weather affects ones mood by conducting a survey and analysing the answers.
8. Blogging: Create a blog for your child and ask him/her to write a blog every day. Blog post could be a story, an argument, an opinion, research essay or even a reflection on his own learning process.
9. "I wonder" diary: My 4th grader owns an "I wonder" diary where he writes the questions he has - like why do dogs chase their tail? How should I react if the abductor is stronger than me? How will it be to be in a communist country? The child could write anything he wonders about. Encourage the child to ask why and how questions and to write what he already knows about that topic or what he thinks the answer is. Later he could read from a book or website or discuss with an adult to know more about the topic. Then he could write in his own words about his understanding. Teach children how to take notes, what format to use etc. This will be of great help when they do their own research study.
10. Games: What can be more fun than playing games. Use strategy games or board games or even pack of playing cards to learn math. For example the concept of probability in math can be learnt using playing cards. Write down a list of probability questions such as probability of picking a black card, probability of picking a face card, probability of picking a red number card, probability of picking an even number etc. Depending upon the probability value, give points. For example if probability is impossible give 0 points, probability value is less than 1/2, give 10 points, for 1/2 give 20 and for more than 1/2 give 40 and for certain i.e probability of 1, give 50. Now let the players take turns to pick cards from the pack and record the probability for each question and write down the points for each card. After few turns, check the total points to find the winner.
11. Trips: Every time you take a vacation trip, ensure your child learns something new. Child could take pictures, talk to local people to know about their culture or traditions. After the trip, child could reflect on the knowledge by writing down in a vacation journal or in his own blog.
An important set of skills for a successful learner is the executive functional skills such as planning, structuring/ organizing, goal setting, meeting deadlines and being responsible. Children need to be taught these skills right from primary years to become successful learners. There are infinite no of opportunities to learn beyond books and outside school. Lets make use of them.

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Kavita Mehndiratta

| Jun 19, 2017

very useful inf thanks

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Mrs Sheetal Shah

| Jun 02, 2017

indeed the best way to teach children, I appreciate your effort for this blog thank you very much

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Carol

| Jul 26, 2016

Hi Charu, Have an open conversation with your son how and what you feel about his addiction to gadgets. Tell him that you want to bring in some changes. You and your son can come to an agreement on the time limit for the gadget usag. And also it is advisable to keep the computer or the laptop in the common area where everyone can see. Esp before going to bed, the laptop / handheld device and phone should be left in the living room or any designated place. Tell him that you trust him but it's just that you don't want him to get tempted by having the devices in his room. you enroll him in any sport or performing/ visual arts classes. The children in higher classes use gadgets as form of relaxation as they have loads of school work to do. Usually we parents feel that by enrolling them in extracurricular classes at that age, they would be burdened. But in contrast the activities will actually be a stress reliever. Enrolling him in NSS or boy scout can help him work in teams and it will be a great opportunity for him to interact with others and also get involved in activities that can help him in his physical, social and emotional development. Hope this helps.

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charu Banerjee

| Jul 26, 2016

Hi, have a son aged 15 years. He is a gadget freak and is an avid reader. Infact while eating, sleeping, using washroom he has to read. Now the level of reading is on a different level,through google etc. via laptop or mobile phone. He is a game freak too. He is a very intelligent boy who hardly studies. What we have been observing is it seems he doesnot have any interest in anything now. He doesnot like socializing. I have to force him to go out and play. He is otherwise a very disciplined and a caring child. Please advise how can I avoid restriction on the use of gadgets without irritating him as he is a grownup chap. Please help

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REKHA B

| Dec 09, 2015

Its very informative. Let me try out this.

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Carol

| Sep 04, 2015

Hi Aarti, To start with, you can keep it very simple and short activity which doesn't take more than 10 or 15 mins. do not focus on only academics in the blog for now. Allow him to write anything he wishes to write such as stories, his own jokes etc. you could also start by giving him a picture and asking him to add this picture in his blog and write a creative title for it. I give an instrumental music file to my son and ask him to tell a story from the mood of the music. another day I ask him a question in the blog about the characters in the books he reads and he write his response in the comment section. occasionally I ask some questions related to his academics which would actually need some research. So first i ask him to write what he knows and the next day he can do the research and write the right answer if his answer is not any closer to the correct answer. initially let him get into the habit of opening the blog and write everyday. gradually you can handover the responsibility to him to initiate his own blog entry. do not expect your child to publish one blog everyday. He can work on one for 15 mins a day and gradually add information in the blog everyday and publish once finished. the main thing is don't make it look complicated or difficult task.

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AARTI SINGH SARDANA

| Sep 04, 2015

This is something v innovative and I guess my 11 year old only son will improve his EFS during trips n by writing a blog of his own or by maintaining I Wonder dairy ... Thnks ! I will surely try to implement.. But implementing one is easy and to have continuity is really difficult task ..which I guess I need some handful tips for this..

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Ishta

| May 15, 2015

Very nice blog. Children indeed learn more outside the books. Thanks for the tips. Will surely apply them.

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Parul Ankita Gupta

| May 13, 2015

Project based learning is a good way. i agree to shreya on this.

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Kritika

| May 13, 2015

I think having a vacation with your family, is one of best way to spend some memorable moments and quality family time, which you and your child remember even when your child is fully grown up. This also inculcates a sense of belonging and the child remains enthusiastic about it and looks forward to a trip every time. It is a great learning experience for the child too and also helps parents take time out for them from their busy schedule.

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Nisha

| May 13, 2015

since summer vacations are juts round the corner .. i guess the last idea is great. Although my daughter is just 4. 5 years old, i shall try and discuss atleast trip pictures with her.

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Shreya

| May 13, 2015

i like the approach of project based learning. when i was in school projects were given during vacation times only. Now a days case based and project based approach.

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