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Here’s Why Traditional Teaching Doesn’t Work For Your Child Anymore



Dear mummies and daddies,


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 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 just started his 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.

As a whole, there are 5 main areas of cognitive abilities that govern the way you use your brain.

They are:

1) Comprehension

2) Memory

3) Problem Solving

4) Evaluation

5) Creativity

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”.

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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 right at the comfort of your home?

All you need to is just 15 minutes to play fun games and exercises right after family dinner. We have crafted these exercises even for the busiest parents where both mummy and daddy have to work.



“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 verbal sequencing.

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 verbal sequencing abilities, your child will not be able to complete this question even 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.

Here are just some parents that have understood the need of cognitive development:


First up is Mrs. Tan mother of Matthew. She noted that cognitive development not only helped improve his grades in school but also made him more sociable and confident. She also knows that other areas of his life will be directly and positively affected.

Mrs Tan - Matthew's Mom

Another successful parent is celebrity blogger Kelvin Ang from cheekiemonkie. His 2 sons truly enjoyed their time at Thinkersbox and Kelvin was astounded by their results.

Kelvin Ang - Cheekiemonkie

Now the question here is:

Are these children any different from yours?


They are also primary school kids who had difficulty learning effectively in class and their parents were searching for ways to help improve their grades and understanding for all the subjects they take in school.

All these parents did was to put their doubts aside to find out exactly how they can impact their child’s learning.

If you too could just put your doubts aside for awhile, to learn simple and effective lessons that you can do at home with just 15 minutes after family dinner, then your kids can experience the same kind of amazing results in a very short time.

If this is something that you are interested to find out more…

Click the link below to know more about our Brain First Workshop! This is where you’ll learn those exercises that can help improve your child’s learning abilities!



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 on the button below to sign up NOW!


3 Ways To Improve Your Child’s Attention Problem… Fast!

Attention is a term (and probably a concern) many parents are familiar with and is something that we always emphasise to our children.

Being able to pay attention in class while learning is very important because if the child is attentive, he will be able to follow what the teacher is teaching, take in all the relevant information necessary to do well and maximise his learning in every situation.

While most parents treat attention as a broad term… the truth is that there are actually different forms of attention abilities our child needs to have in different learning situation and tasks. To help our child get the most out of every learning situation, it is important for us to understand the different forms of attention abilities so that we know how we can help them in different situations.

In this article, I am going to share with you the 4 most critical attention abilities your child should have… and what you can do to help them build up these attention skills. 

First of all, let us take a look at the:

4 Forms Of Attention Abilities

  • Sustained Attention – The ability to stay on task for the given duration of time. For example, paying full attention for the whole period of English class (for 30 – 60 minutes).
  • Selective Attention – The ability to concentrate on any given task without being distracted by stimulus in the environment. An example of this will be completing given worksheet without stopping to talk to the classmate next to him.
  • Divided Attention – The ability to complete two separate tasks at the same time (also commonly known as multi-tasking). For example, you might notice that your child has problems copying notes from the board while still listening and understanding what the teacher is teaching all at the same time.
  • Auditory Attention – The ability to follow pace of teaching via auditory input. Following and remembering the teacher’s given instructions is the best example of this ability.

It’s important to note that these 4 abilities are not mutually exclusive and instead, they are like the different organs, muscles and systems of our body… working together at times, complementing and supporting each other in the learning process.

However, here’s the thing….

These abilities are present in varying degrees of efficiency within a child.

For example, while a child may be able to sit and work on a piece of worksheet for 30 minutes (strong in sustained attention)… he may find it difficult trying to copy notes in class while still understanding what the teaching is explaining (weak in divided attention).

And in order to help our child maximise their learning, we need to make sure that they are equipped with the different froms of attention skills.

Here’s why…

In the daily classroom, our child  is required to tap into different attention abilities for different tasks such as:

–     Sounding out, blending and segmenting words when reading, spelling and writing

Learning to read, spell and write with the phonics approach requires the child to be able to hold the parts of the sounds in their mind (auditory attention) while they blend the letters together and try to spell or write out the word (divided attention).

–     Listening comprehension

To listen to a story and remember the details of the story requires the child to have strong selective attention so that the child is not distracted while listening to the story. At the same time, a strong auditory attention is needed to ensure the child can follow the story and remember the details correctly.

–     Taking a test or exam

A test or exam usually requires the child to work at it and concentrate on the questions over a given period of time, usually an hour or more (sustained attention).

–      Follow teacher’s pace of teaching in class

Typically when a teacher explains a concept or topic, she begins to talk continuously as she teaches while at the same time she may write down the key points or steps for the given problem; and she would likely not have the luxury of time to stop and pause at every sentence to ensure the child is following the lesson. Therefore, a child needs to tap into their auditory attention and divided attention abilities to follow the pace of teaching and be able to write down the information correctly.

Attention Skills Determine How Much Our Children Can Learn 

From the above tasks, we can easily see that attention skills play a very key role in how well our children learn in the classroom and how much learning they can take in (or may be missing out if are they not equipped with the necessary skills)

Besides facing difficulty with the above tasks, children with weak attention skills may also display some of the following behaviours and/or learning observations:

–       Daydreams in the classroom or when doing work

–       Difficulty working on a task for a period of time, i.e 30 minutes or more

–       Gets restless, fidgety and moves around when doing work

–       Looks up at the slightest distraction or sound

–       Finds excuses to get away from task (needs to go to the toilet, drink water, take a break, etc)

If you find your child displaying some of the behaviours mentioned above and is concerned about his/her learning ability… fret not.

The good news is that just like any other learning skills, attention abilities can be trained, practiced and improved on… if you have the right strategies.

If you are looking to build up your child’s attention skills…

Here Are Some Interesting Activities You Can Do To Help Them Improve

Activity 1: Work towards a time goal (suitable for young children 3 – 5 years old)

What to do: Give the child a box of building blocks and have them stack up the blocks in towers of 10 (or 5 for younger children with developing motor skills) and provide them a stopwatch with a given time goal of 3 minutes (for a start). Using a rather easy motor-driven activity, we want to build up the child’s span of attention gradually. Besides attention span, this activity will also practice on fine motor control and focused attention as the child attempts to stack the tower higher.

*Pro tip: Teach the child how to stop/start and read the minutes on the stopwatch. When they are involved, they are likely to be more engaged in the task.

Level of difficulty: As the child achieves the initial time goal, gradually increase the length of time they need to work on stacking the blocks (remember, the key is gradually because we want the child to experience small successes and build up their confidence and ability progressively). For variety, instead of just towers of 10, they can build the stacks in increasing numbers of 2 (also a good way to introduce maths concepts of timetable) or in a domino pattern (to encourage creativity).

Activity 2: Listening to ‘key words’ in a story (suitable for children aged 6 – 8 years old)

What to do: Read a short story or passage to the child and have them listen out for a given key word (that you know will appear multiple times in the story—so parents have to read the story beforehand). Usually words like ‘the’, ‘she’ and ‘he’ are likely to pop up quite frequently or names of the main characters are also good key words to choose. As the child listens to the story, they can raise their hand, ring a bell, clap or do a funny dance action every time they hear the key word (this keeps interest high and incorporates the fun element).

Level of difficulty: Begin with easy key words like the main character’s name and slowly progress to high frequency words that makes the child have to follow the story closely so they don’t miss out anything. Words that appear frequently are harder to catch because we tend to listen to key ideas instead of the small details. However, take note that if the key word will be appearing many times, the accompanying action the child does should be less distractive (i.e instead of a funny dance action, they might just draw a line on a paper to keep track of how many times the key word appeared)

Activity 3: Doing two things at one time (suitable for children aged 9 and above)

What to do: Have the child build a model, fold an origami, doodle or work at a puzzle. (it is good to set a time goal too) Explain to the child that while they are doing the activity, we will be asking them some simple arithmetic questions and they need to work out the answers while they continue to do the activity.

Level of difficulty: The objective of this task is to train the child’s ability to do multiple activities with effective mental effort and not about the ability to do challenging arithmetic questions. So, keep to the four operations (plus, minus, multiply, divide) with just single digits. And if the child is having difficulty with multiplication, keep the questions to what they are good at (maybe addition or subtraction). Also keep in mind to ask these ‘distracting’ questions with a good time gap in-between, for example every 15-20 seconds if the time goal is 3 minutes (after the child has answered the previous question). A good way to monitor the progress is to write down the questions you asked and the child’s answers. As they build their divided attention, their accuracy level should improve too.

*Remember, this is not an arithmetic-driven task. So, do not fault the child if they make mistakes in computation.

As we all know, building up any skills requires time, practice and patience.Therefore, as you work these activities with your child… it is important to encourage them for their efforts and provide positive reinforcement to keep them motivated. Start off with an easy goal and gradually stretch their capacity overtime.

Remember: just like any other skills, attention ability can easily be built up and improved on. And once you equip your child with a strong attention ability… he will be able to learn more effecrively and maximise his learning in any situation.

If you have found this article useful and are interested to find out more about how you can help your child improve his attention ability… we will be conducting a parents session this weekend where we will be sharing even more strategies to help your child maximise his learning in any situation.

If you are interested to help your child become more focused, more confident and most importantly… able to enjoy learning once again, click here to find out more.

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The “Enough Failure?” Controversy

There are always two sides to a coin. As it is with the topic of children experiencing failure. I’ve heard of parents who are all ready to send their children out to fail and I’ve known of parents who almost never allow their children to even stumble, much less fail. As I read about the implications of failure in children (some good, some bad), I started to reflect on my own experience with failure when I was a kid.

Continue reading The “Enough Failure?” Controversy

11 Reasons Why You Should Laugh With Your Child

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So we’ve been told that laughter is the best medicine. But honestly, at times of desperation (to get kids dressed up for school, to get kids to finish their homework, to get kids into the showers…), laughter just seems to be the last thing on your mind. To help you (and convince you!) along, we’ve decided to do a little research and present you with a list of 11 reasons why you should laugh with your child (despite feeling uptight). Continue reading 11 Reasons Why You Should Laugh With Your Child

Acquisition of the Chinese Language

After reading parental forums and blogs, I’ve realized that helping a child learn Chinese is one of the greatest headaches, especially for English speaking families. While some parents succeed in imparting their Mandarin skills, others find themselves feeling frustrated with the lack of improvement.

Continue reading Acquisition of the Chinese Language

Logical Reasoning and its Benefits

Logical reasoning is the ability to “foresee” implications beyond decisions. Honing this skill promotes active learning, whereby the child would be encouraged to ask good questions that could aid his/her own learning. It is also a skill that helps the child get more engaged in his/her own learning process and promotes making the correct and right decisions (based on reasoning logically).

Continue reading Logical Reasoning and its Benefits

Cultivating A Motivated Learner

It is the start of a brand new year with brand new goals and expectations. Some of us parents may have a target list of sorts to keep check on our children’s learning progress. Maybe your checklist for your child is something like this:
  •      Able to read
  •      Able to count until 100
  •      Able to add and subtract
  •      Able to write
  •      Able to spell

Continue reading Cultivating A Motivated Learner

Enhance Effective Learning with Improved Auditory Attention

Auditory Attention is the ability to attend (listen) to information presented aurally. This is an important skill that would enhance effective learning when improved.
Some behaviour manifestations that are observed in children with weak auditory attention is the inability to stay focused in class and follow auditory instructions/directions.

Continue reading Enhance Effective Learning with Improved Auditory Attention

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