In today’s fast-paced and information-rich world, maintaining concentration and focus can be a challenge for both children and adults. With an abundance of distractions and stimuli vying for their attention, children often struggle to stay focused on the task at hand. Recognizing the significance of developing strong concentration skills in children, ThinkersBox provides the right solutions that yield long-lasting results.
Do you remember those carefree days where all we did was catch spiders and eat 20 cent mee rebus from the noodle uncle on the street?
Growing up then was much easier and expectations weren’t that high.
Studying was simple. All we had to worry about was just memorising and practicing over and over and over again. Or we’ll face the dreaded rattan!
This method of teaching is what we call rote learning. And this was the only way our parents knew how to teach us. And I think it was pretty similar to how their parents taught them as well.
To just memorise and drill. You don’t even need to really understand what you’re learning. Just regurgitate all that information when it’s time for exams.
Am I right?
The truth is…
When it comes to learning in the 21st century, school curriculum has shifted to a more comprehension model of learning where understanding and application is more important than raw memory work.
Rote learning does not focus on understanding and does not help with comprehension of a subject or topic. All that memory work has become less important and necessary in today’s education requirement.
And this is why we believe that the old-school method of rote learning will not help your child especially if he/she just started his/her primary school education.
What your child really needs is a good foundation on the ability to understand and learn well.
And what do we mean by that?
Your child requires the underlying brain skills that help him process, make sense of, and retain the information he learns while in school.
And the only way to achieve the right abilities is through…
Proper Cognitive/Brain Training
Brain training does for mental abilities what exercise does for the body. Through intensive brain exercises and activities, the brain can develop its underlying abilities that will help you learn more effectively.
These are some main functions of cognitive abilities that govern the way you use your brain.
These areas are not subjects that you learn in school. And your child is not automatically perfect at all of them. There are definitely areas that he may be strong in but definitely, areas that he may be very weak in too.
There is also a common misconception where parents believe that certain children are just “born smart“.
But in actual fact, these children are just born with superior cognitive abilities (without prior training). However, all children can go through specific brain training that can help him perform like a “gifted child”.
So now that you understand the importance of brain training a bit more and that you realise that rote learning (even though it is our only point of reference) is not effective and can be detrimental to your child’s learning, would you like to know how you can help develop your child’s cognitive abilities to maximise his/her potential?
“But Felicia, we didn’t go through brain training when we were young and we turned out fine!”
Well, I’m not doubting that you didn’t. I’m just saying with the demands of the 21st-century education, simple regurgitation of information during exams is just not enough to get that “A” grade anymore. Expectations are much higher and all our children are performing at a much higher rate.
And this is especially so in Singapore where our children are considered the top 3 smartest children in the world!
I mean have you actually tried helping them with their homework recently? Even questions from a primary 2 math textbook can make the smartest parents stumble and think for an extra minute before arriving at the answer.
With demands like this, our children need all the help they can get!
Here’s an example of a math problem straight out of a P2 textbook:
“329 people attended a concert on Friday night. This was 97 more than the number of people who attended the previous night. A total of 754 people attended the concert on Saturday and Sunday. What was the final total attendance for the four nights of concert?“
The cognitive ability required here is called sequential thinking.
Your child first needs to understand the big picture of the question. Eg. How many sets of numbers were given? (Some children don’t even see that there are 4 nights in total.)
Then it’s knowing in which order do we use the information given to come to an answer?
And all this is beyond understanding addition and subtraction even though it’s still only a math question.
Without possessing strong sequential thinking ability, your child will not be able to complete this questioneven if he is good at calculating the answer. Rote learning will not help because the question can be mixed up and no 2 math question is ever the same, especially in problem sums.
I’m sure you would agree that the way you were taught by your parents back then wouldn’t give you the right skills to help solve problem sums like the one I shared above.
And this is just one example of why cognitive abilities are much more important for children in the current education system.
The great thing about it is that more and more parents are becoming more aware that their child requires specific brain training to help him in school. They are starting to understand that just extra tuition and assessment books do not help in the long run.
This is because they understand how extremely important these cognitive abilities are in the current education system, as compared to traditional rote learning and memory.
If this is something that you are interested to find out more…
Click the link to join us for a 1.5hrs hands-on Brain Boosting session to help your child maximise their Brain Potential!
Think about it…
Simple memory work is being taken over by machinery and other processes. To survive in the 21st century, we require critical thinking and problem-solving skills. That is what our education system is striving towards. Now it’s time to equip your child with the right skills to not only survive but be successful in the future.
Note: It is much easier (and definitely faster) to include cognitive development and training during a child’s earlier years… and I am sure you will agree that it is definitely much easier to teach children than to “fix” adults who have failed to succeed in school.
So while you still have the chance to strengthen your child’s learning foundation while he is young… give him the chance to improve his learning ability early by clicking the link to join us for a 1.5hrs hands-on Brain Boosting session NOW!
Being parents, we want the best for our kids. But usually most of the time, we don’t know what we’re doing wrong or what we’re doing right. Truth is, there is no wrong or right way to teach a child, we all have our own way of teaching.
But from our 16+ years of experience, we’ve noticed a few common mistakes that parents unknowingly commit that slows down their child’s learning potential.
These mistakes although seems normal on the surface, can slow down your child’s learning, growth and sometimes even confidence. But it can be easily identified and prevented.
So if you have a child aged 5-12, you might be making the same mistakes as the many parents we have spoken to or observed. And the pointers we’ll be sharing will be crucial to helping you make sure that your child is on the right path to using his brain effectively.
So let’s get started!
Mistake #1: Discouraging Your Child From Expressing Themselves
Many parents we’ve noticed are quick to tell their children to keep quiet and behave in public. Sometimes, they do it just because they are too busy to handle their child’s comments or maybe they’re just having a bad day.
The problem here is that if you stop your child from expressing himself, he might lose confidence in his thoughts and might feel that his presence is unwanted. This reflects in his learning as he will be more afraid to make mistakes and will be closed off when exposed to new concepts.
Here’s what you should do:
Ask him about what he learned in school that day. Not just surface questions, but get him to try and re-teach you what he learnt. This way, you will also get him to revise and reflect the lessons he learnt in school. Also, he’ll be more confident in sharing more about all the other things he experiences. He’ll always be on the lookout to learning new things so that he can explain them to you once he gets home.
Mistake #2: Letting Them Use A Digital Device At An Early Age
Many kids under the age of 3 are already exposed to using a tablet or some other form of digital device as a method of learning. Many experts have had differing views regarding the use of technology with kids at an early age. But we believe the golden rule here is moderation.
Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman says that children need to have regular face to face contact in order to pick up the social skills that are vital for them being successful during their lives. He believes that if many hours a day are being displaced by looking at screens passively these skills may not develop as fully. And it could also have an effect on how children interact with each other. (http://www.itv.com/news/2013-11-28/tonight-too-young-for-technology/)
Here’s what you should do:
Control and moderate the amount of time spent on digital devices. The general recommendation is less than 60 minutes a day. And try to make sure that it is mainly used for educational purposes.
Mistake #3: Not Giving Him Time To Play Or Exercise
Bogging him down with too much tuition, after class activities (sometimes till late at night), even after all the homework he receives from school; damages and limits his ability to learn and accept all the new information that he receives.
Walking or cycling regularly for between six months to a year can improve memory and problem-solving skills in children by between 15 and 20 percent, according to researchers.
They have shown that such exercise can also increase the size of crucial parts of the brain. The scientists have also discovered that children who are fit also tend to be better at multitasking and performing difficult mental tasks than unfit friends.
Set aside some time, at least, an hour, purely for outdoor activities. There are many sports that you can partake with your child. Badminton, football, basketball, just to name a few. This will also build his fitness and stamina other than just his cognitive abilities.
Also, brain games and activities that exercise his brain in a fun and healthy way can also give him the right training to develop a strong and effective mind.
Mistake #4: Not Training Your Child To Pay Attention
One of the biggest objectives of proper cognitive development is ensuring that your child remains focused and attentive when completing homework or when he’s in class.
Here’s what you could do:
1) Provide Clear Directions
Break assignments into small steps, and ask your child to repeat the directions. This will help your child with organisational and sequencing skills and ensure your directions are understood.
2) Set a Timer
A kitchen timer will help your child learn time-management skills. Knowing there is a time limit will remind children to redirect their wandering attention back to the task at hand. A timer also tells the child the task has an end, relieving them of the hopeless feeling that it will go on forever.
3) Monitor Your Behaviour
Children take cues from the adults around them. If you find yourself only half-paying attention to your child while checking email on your phone, be aware you are modelling this behaviour in front of your child.
Would you like to get a check-in of your child’s attentional ability? Join us for a Hands-On Brain Boosting session to receive an Initial Brain Profile report and let your child experience brain-stimulating activities to boost their focus and carefulness to details.
I want to stress that this is the worst of all the 5 bad mistakes we have shared.
Especially in Singapore, too many kids are already so stressed out with high expectations from their parents and experience high competition in the class itself.
So please pay careful attention to your child’s stress levels.
Like I mentioned before, many parents are now placing too much stress on their kids by sending them to excessive amounts of tuition. Some even send their kids to tuition just because they don’t want their kids to “lose out”.
**Don’t get us wrong, It’s not that tuition doesn’t work (many children have had massive help and success with tuition), What we are saying is that there is a fine balance between having enough and having too much. And excessive tuition is definitely harmful and affects your child’s academic ability.
This “tuition fixation” was also addressed by past Minister For Education, Mr. Heng Swee Kiat, and he even calls it “harmful”.
Here’s what you could do:
Send him for just enough tuition and only if you think he really needs it. It would also be good to communicate your expectations to him clearly. Also, cognitive development will help him learn better and in turn, reduces the stress he experiences when doing homework.
But we’re sure another big reason why parents send their kids to tons of tuition is because their child usually gets bad grades in school. They might even get stuck on a question and start to lose concentration and ends up doodling on his book and loses interest in continuing.
The truth is…
It is not because their child is not smart.
It’s not even because he is “slow” or “takes time” to learn.
Or even because he is ill-disciplined or has behavioural issues.
Their child may just have…
Poor Cognitive Abilities!
Cognitive abilities are the core foundation for all our learning functions. Without strong cognitive abilities, it will be almost impossible for us to understand something new.
And this is the root cause that most parents don’t understand.
Many may believe that feeding more content or even teaching their kids “mind mapping” will help them learn better or achieve better results. No doubt, these are useful study techniques and tactics but it only works well if the child is first able to understand, focus, remember and apply what they are learning.
The truth is, without a strong foundation, your child will not be able to easily grasp new concepts and apply newly taught information.
Thus, the critical missing key for successful and effective learning is to ensure our children have been given a strong cognitive foundation – to equip them with the skills to help themselves learn confidently and effectively!
To kickstart your child’s journey in building a strong cognitive foundation, join us for a Hands-On Brain Boosting session to ignite their brain abilities NOW! Register HERE.
Visual skills are important as it can affect an individual’s ability to excel in reading, learning, sports, and in day-to-day activities. We will be touching on one component: Visual Discrimination.
Visual discrimination is a component of visual skills. It is the ability of the individual to distinguish and identify subtle differences, be it in words, shapes, size or patterns or colours. Another easier explanation is how attentive an individual is to details.
While we place emphasis on keeping our mind active and fired up, not all brainy activities must be carried out within the vicinity of the classroom or computer programme. More often than not, we can train our minds on the go. Continue reading Brain Training On the Go!
This is most certainly true for most people but people have different takes on what is suitable for PLAY.
There are perspectives on how traditional play does not encompass the electronic tools of today, while others believe that play equates to outdoor activities. There is also the group that believes that play should be education and the group who believes that play is simply activities that brings joy to the individual.
Instead of always saying ‘Use your brain!’, it is always nicer and more fun when you hear ‘Use your imagination!‘
These days, children spend so much time on watching screens that it has robbed them of their creativity and imagination. Not all TV is bad, but too much screen time will disallow children to participate in their own creativity and imagination and in return children will be at the passive end of receiving visual and auditory stimulation.
I remembered going to art and abacus classes in my younger years, of which both I enjoyed thoroughly and found useful throughout my education. It was stress free and somehow encouraged my competitiveness in the positive manner. Continue reading More or Less? Enjoyment or Overloading?
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13 Apr, 2022
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Should you have any questions about our brain development courses, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Please leave us a message on our online enquiry form about our enrichment classes for kids and we will be in touch.