This is the seventh post of the series “How to Select an Appropriate Secondary School”
The biggest headache that most parents face is if the choice of secondary school will meet our child’s needs. A quick check on the net will surface websites that advise students to look at the the child’s interests, strengths and personalities.
However, after years of observation – I realise a child’s academic performance plays the one of the biggest influencing factor in a child’s success in Secondary School.
Students who believe they are in control of their academic grades will fare better in schools.
Thus in this article, I will be looking at three main things: motivation, self-confidenceand strengths… simply because there is never a child who wants to go to school to fail.
I will be disregarding the child’s interest (this topic was covered here) and other possible influencing social factors (here and here).
This concept has been proven several times. Yet, schools do not devote time to teach these skills in schools as it take up too much time and branded companies are charging at least 4K and above to learn them.
Now let’s look at what happens when a child enters a branded school when he/she barely makes it:
Never forget that there will also be intense competition in a school, especially branded ones.
Furthermore, when one is not equipped with appropriate study skills, they may have a lot of trouble understanding and absorbing material before the teachers move to the next topic.
However, things might be different if one is equipped with them:
What about if my child does very well? What happens if he/she is smart from the start? If your child is given extra work and subjects as compared to the Primary school, are they able to cope with it to meet your expectations you have already implanted in them?
Remember, no child wants to make their parents unhappy by failing on purpose unless….
However, if your child is able to manage his/her time very well with many study skills under their belt, it is very likely your child may be able to thrive very well:
What happens if you chooses to send your child an average school? Are you making a big mistake?
Well, it depends on your child’s aptitude. Even in a neighbourhood school, there is competition and at the end of the year, the teachers may or may not remind them they will be competing with a few thousand students who will be graduating around the same as them.
If your child struggles to understand material, they may still feel overwhelmed even though the pressure is lower:
If your child is taught a few study skills beyond what they usually use, they may actually be able to advance beyond the pack.
Otherwise, it’s up to the perseverance and full emotional support of home and/or teachers to ensure that they will be willing to spend much effort to study:
If you have other views, please feel free to share them with me.
I have received some enquiries on how to maximise the effectiveness of the downloadable Learning Styles book. If you like to download a copy, just sign up for the newsletter or the pop-up.
I felt that it was better to create a series of videos to explain how and why the downloadable book was designed as much. In this series, I also like to be clear that this is not about limiting a child to one particular learning style but rather to their dominant one(s). And yes, it is possible to have more than 1 learning style or complement 2 of them as well.
Part 1 : Introduction
In this video, I talk about the importance of you going through the survey with your child in a calm state of mind.
2. Learning Skills Survey
Here, I talk about the importance of letting your child to assess their own skills required for studying. This way, you are able to gauge your child’s confidence towards their abilities.
3. Learning Skills Questionnaire
For this video, I talk about how the questionnaire is designed to identify your child’s dominant learning styles.
4. Identifying Your Child’s Learning Style
In this video, I maintain my stand that your child’s Learning Styles can and most likely be a mix of all three styles with one being the most dominant. That said, it is important to reiterate that one should combine ALL 3 LEARNING STYLES if possible or at least utilise the more dominant ones.
Each video is around 1-2 minutes long. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
How does a child learn? In fact, how do we learn? Why do some memories stick and why some don’t?
In this series, we look at how your child’s brain turns information into knowledge and transforms short-term memory into long-term memory. For this post, we take a look at how selected information from the barrage enters and stay in the brain.
Gifted students head to the summary of the chapter first in order to preview a lesson. The summary chapter provides an overview of the main ideas and outcomes of the chapter and this gives a much better overview to the student. When they read the details of the chapter later, they will be able to understand it better. This is when they colour code notes and look out for key words.
Using a Mindmapping/ Concept Mapping
Many children hate mindmaps as they think they are boring and useless. Yet, interestingly, I notice the very same students who complain that mindmaps are useless tend to write in big chunks in various boxes without breaking them down. When I look at their mindmaps, it will be random boxes with big chunks of texts connected to the main idea in the centre without any pictures or colour.
Gifted students would use the key words they pick out earlier and note them down in a comprehensive mind map with various colours and drawings. This aids them visually and as they work on it, they would be reading aloud to themselves to further reinforce the concepts. Sometimes, some of them may search for videos as a resource to further aid their understanding and anticipate possible questions.
Other than concentrating on teachers’ instructions, gifted children will summarize, classify and generalise ideas and methods. They may try to apply these concepts in real life and they are able to see the interconnections between many subjects immediately. As they have stronger cognitive abilities, they are able to grasp many concepts quickly and is able to understand the relationships between several subjects. Thus, they do not really need to commit them to memory. They may work on given questions as well as anticipate possible question tweaks by verbalising and writing them down.
Other than those who are gifted with a photographic memory, many of these students consistently revise from their notes to keep it vivid in their memory. When they revise their material within the first 24 hours, the retention of the information is very much higher.
How do gifted children learn? To most of us, the curiosity of how these children learn tend to fascinate us as we try to replicate their learning strategies with underachieving students. While we are generally aware that gifted children’s learning styles differ significantly from lower achievers, most of us do not know that both groups do not fare well if they are exposed to similar methods.
Interestingly, when researchers studied gifted teenagers across nine diverse cultures (athletics, arts, dance, leadership, literature, mathematics and music), those of a common talent, instead of cultures, show similarities in learning styles. In other words, students with similar talents from different cultures had greater learning similarity than those of a different talent but of the same culture.
Boys vs Girls
Generally, it was found that the there were differences of learning styles between genders. Boys prefer kinesthetic learning styles, likes freedom and are more non-conforming and peer-motivated than girls. They usually rely on visual learning style as the next dominant learning style.
Girls, on the other hand, tend to rely on auditory learning style, and are more conforming, quiet, authority-oriented and able to sit passively during lessons. They also need more silence while learning.
Do note that many children change their learning styles frequently as they grow older. Yet, there are some who hardly deviate from their original learning style as they mature.
Preferences for a particular social setting also changes as one matures over time. Generally, most young children are motivated due to the presence of an adult such as a parent or a teacher. Many become peer-motivated when they reach 11 or 12 years of age. Self-motivation comes in at the age of 15. Gifted children , on the other hand, become self-motivated by the age of 7 and do not depend on peers for motivation. Underachievers depend on peers for motivation earlier than most children and will remain that way after they have long pass adolescence.
For most people, motivation fluctuates daily and depends on class or the teacher taking them. For the average child, the first period for nonconformity usually starts at 2 years of age and lasts less than a year while the second period is around the age of 12-16. Underachievers and some gifted children remain non-conforming until they graduate and enter their adulthood.
It is no secret that most young children learn through kinesthetic moments. In fact, research indicated that less than 12% of these preschoolers are auditory learners and less than 40% are visual learners. When most children become older, their auditory and visual skills develop. However, there are some who do not develop the above skills and thus, tend to do poorly in school. If these underachievers are taught the way they learn, they will do very well in school later on.