The most effective learning techniques
One of the first tasks of primary education is not only the acquisition of specific knowledge, but also training children to learn, i.e. acquisition and development of their learning habits, and that goal is, among other things, best achieved through the implementation of appropriate learning techniques.
In good schools, these learning strategies will be adapted so as to accommodate the preferences and affinities of each student. However, parents can also help a lot by applying some of the learning techniques at home with their child.
Many parents of primary school children have difficulties motivating their children to study. This is especially evident nowadays, when distractions are both numerous and readily available. If used excessively and irresponsibly, smartphones, social media and video games interfere with children’s ability to concentrate and focus. It is therefore no wonder that procrastination is a growing problem.
However, there are a number of effective and proven techniques that can help children to overcome this problem and learn faster and more effectively. We will introduce you to some of the best learning techniques in this text that you can use at home with your child.
The pomodoro technique
What does tomato have to do with learning? One of the most effective and useful learning techniques is the pomodoro technique. It is a simple time management technique developed in 1980 by Francesco Cirillo.
The technique is based on using a timer to break down work into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a pomodoro from the Italian word for tomato, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used as a student.
Why is the pomodoro technique successful?
Strictly speaking, the pomodoro is not a learning technique, but a time management technique. However, good time management is crucial for successful learning. Most students who have a problem with learning actually have a problem with organizing time allocated to learning.
Given the existence of social media and smartphones, it is really difficult for modern students to concentrate and fully dedicate themselves to learning. The pomodoro technique solves this problem. During the 25-minute intervals, students are not allowed to interrupt studying, stare at their phones or use the Internet. Students can do whatever they like with their time only during the five-minute breaks.
Another reason for the success of this technique is the fact that it relies on routine, i.e. repeating a certain action until it gradually becomes a habit. And we all know that habits don’t have to be forced, because they are part of us. This way, students avoid procrastination and the learning process becomes highly effective.
How can you use the pomodoro technique with your child?
Just remember how many times you cried as a child because your parents forced you to do your homework, and you just wanted to play. Today, being a parent yourself, you are now on the other side: you have to motivate your child to do their homework, and they want to have fun. However, this process can be painless both for you and your child.
It is simple – use the pomodoro technique. You don’t have to use this technique just for learning. It can also help children spend quality time after school.
First, organize intervals for your child after school. Define the time for rest, homework and other activities. To help the child stick to these intervals, establish rules, rewards and consequences for noncompliance with the rules. Print this timetable and post it above the child’s desk.
A good way to motivate your child is to create a reward chart. The child can collect stars for each successfully completed interval, and once they collect enough stars, you can reward them with an extra hour of rest, play or an activity of their choice.
How can the pomodoro help your child do their homework?
The pomodoro is a highly efficient technique for doing homework. By following a few simple rules, you will establish a solid structure that will help your child to fulfill all their responsibilities on time:
- Plan: Estimate how much time they need for homework. Create a work plan and define priorities. Write them down in an eye-catching notebook that the child will enjoy using.
- Set the timer: Find an interesting timer, or simply use your mobile phone to set 25-minute intervals.
- Focus: The child will achieve the best results if you organize a pomodoro (interval) as a game. Tell them that they must have absolute focus for 25 minutes and that no distractions are allowed. After the timer rings, the first interval is complete and the child is entitled to a break.
- Break: During the five-minute break, the child can stretch, leave the room, or do anything else they like.
- Repeat 2 more intervals: After the break, repeat two more intervals. Older students may not be able to complete all their homework in three intervals, so after the third, they should take a 20-minute break, and then continue with the intervals.
Younger students (Years 1 to 5) should be supervised when doing homework using the pomodoro technique. You don’t have to hover over them all the time, but you should be nearby so as to make sure that they respect the deadlines.
Speed learning techniques
First of all, it is important to know one thing – it’s not the point to learn fast, but to learn properly. However, when we know that proper learning is more effective, we could say that it is also faster. There are a number of techniques and methods for making learning faster and more effective.
Using some of them helps children to master the teaching material faster, memorize information better, and strengthen the process of linking and adopting information. Here are some of the most effective speed learning techniques for children:
MODEL-BASED LEARNING: The probability that the child will memorize things is much higher when they see them in practice, i.e. in real life. Try to demonstrate everything you teach your child with a practical example. If you are practicing expressive and fluent reading, show them how they should sound by reading the text yourself, and then play videos where professional actors read the same text. This way, the child will have a living, breathing role model they can look up to during exercise.
REPETITION: Even the ancient Romans said that repetition is the mother of learning. When we want to memorize something, we need to repeat it over and over again. You need to know that repetition is not the same as rote learning. Instead of forcing your child to sit in their room and repeat the lesson mechanically, make repetition subtle. While going to the shop, or sports practice, you will see something that can be linked to what the child has learned, so remind them of it. This way, reviewing the material covered will be effective, and things children have learned will be associated with practical examples, which is another great form of speed learning.
USE OF NEW SKILLS: When students have to use their knowledge to achieve something, they are more likely to memorize it. This is why project-based learning is one of the most effective learning models. Try to implement the things your child is learning about in practice. If they are learning arithmetic, you can count the apples you bought together, if they are learning to read, you can read the signs on shop windows together, etc.
Memory is the first stage of learning, and the main reason why learning is possible at all. In other words, there is no learning without memory.
However, a less known fact is that memory can be trained and improved. All you need to do is apply certain tricks and techniques to facilitate the memory process. The collection of such methods is commonly known as memorization learning techniques.
The importance and efficiency of memorization techniques is best illustrated by the fact that they were used by the ancient philosophers, some of the wisest people of our civilization. Studies confirm that when we want to memorize certain things, we can be much more successful if we rely on these techniques.
How to use memorization learning techniques in school?
When it comes to learning, memorization techniques can be used in a variety of ways and at different ages. However, given that many of them are engaging and game-like, they are very efficient for teaching primary school children.
Memorization learning techniques that facilitate the adoption of new information for your child:
CONNECT LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGY: Record your child saying things they have learned from the new lesson and play it while they are engaged in other activities. This way, the child will unconsciously review the material covered.
MAKE UP RHYMING SONGS: This is a fun technique that your child will love. All you need to do is make up a verse that rhymes with the word they need to memorize. This is also a good way for memorizing formulas. Be creative and have fun.
CREATE MIND MAPS: This is a visually striking method. Mind maps work by structuring related concepts around a central concept. For example, you can draw a flower, and then a bee, honey, etc. around it. This method helps children understand the links between concepts and how to see the bigger picture. Mind maps can be posted above the child’s desk so as to be visible all the time.
KEYWORD METHOD: This technique is particularly suitable for learning foreign language vocabulary, i.e. words of a foreign language, but it is equally efficient for students who are learning to read and write. The goal is to connect a new word with a familiar word, after which the words are connected into a sentence. In addition, keywords form a summary of the text that needs to be learned. With one look at them, the child will be reminded of the lesson.
VISUALIZE: Children better memorize things they can see. Play educational cartoons, take them to museums or help them to imagine people they are learning about in front of them.
MAKE CONNECTIONS: New information is best adopted when linked with the old one. This is a doubly useful procedure, because children are reviewing the old material while at the same time adopting new. This is why this method is great for developing memory. For example, if your child is learning about monkeys at school, remind them of the time when you visited the zoo and what they saw there.
USE PICTURE CARDS: Picture cards are a great tool for strengthening memory. When you draw or write concepts the child should learn on the cards and post them above their desk, they will memorize them more easily.
How to learn properly?
You can use each of these techniques to help your child learn. Different approaches, or a combination of approaches suit different types of learners, so everything depends on the preferences and affinities of the child. We are all different, so the same approach does not suit everyone equally.
Therefore, the answer to the question – how to learn properly – is that there is no best way to learn. However, there are some general rules that should be followed to make learning effective and successful. Here are some of the most effective and scientifically proven learning strategies:
BREAK LEARNING INTO SHORTER INTERVALS: Research shows that short learning sessions separated by breaks are more effective than long, uninterrupted sessions. Remember the pomodoro technique. Besides, when the material is adopted piece by piece, students will master it more easily.
TURN LEARNING INTO A HABIT: Define study time for each day and stick to the schedule. By adhering to the study time, the child will acquire a habit of learning and the process itself will become much easier, because their brain has gotten used to repeating the same activity at the same time every day.
SET A GOAL: It is important that every learning session has a clear goal, because that way, the child will achieve better results. Define micro goals to fulfill for each session (e.g. learning three new words) and the results will come.
ALLOW THE CHILD TO TEACH YOU: When they need to present what they’ve learned in their own words, children will make more effort to master the material. In addition, it has been scientifically proven that our brain organizes information in a logically consistent way. Asking the child questions during the lesson may be helpful.
PRACTICE: Practice makes perfect, so you must practice if you want to master any skill. The same applies to your child – encourage them to practice, especially things they struggle with. You will see: practice works wonders.
CREATE A STUDY SPACE: Research shows that the best results are achieved when children have a study space with all the necessary objects and equipment. Similar to study time, using the same space creates routine and reinforces the habit.
PUT AWAY PHONES, VIDEO GAMES AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS: We already said that today’s children are faced with great challenges when it comes to learning. There are many distractions everywhere, so make sure that they don’t stare at their phones, computers or the TV during study time.
The best technique is to develop a love of learning in children
The techniques mentioned in this text should help your child learn faster, more effectively, and to improve the quality of their learning. Good schools adapt their teaching process to the specific needs of each child, and specially trained and experienced teachers implement some of the most advanced learning techniques to achieve the best results. You, in turn, can help your child by familiarizing yourself with the strategies from this text, and teaching him/her to apply them on their own. Remember:
Be patient and understanding. The child must not see learning as an unpleasant obligation, but as an enjoyable activity.
The goal is not only to show your child how to learn effectively, but also to help them to fall in love with learning. It is the only guarantee that the child won’t stop learning after they complete their formal education, which is necessary for professional success in the 21st century. So, make sure your child develops a lifelong love of learning.