It’s not enough to ask kids to just try hard Countless researchers have proven, children are able to bounce back from setbacks, and they are more willing to take on new challenges, when we praise them for their efforts instead of focusing on their intelligence and talent.
At the same time, we need to go deeper than just saying “try your best”. What happens when your child keeps trying and trying, but the techniques they are using are ineffective. No matter how hard they try, they will remain stagnant, never moving forward, and likely become frustrated.
As parents and educators, we need to couple the idea of working hard with research-proven techniques.
Ineffective Techniques Research has shown, the techniques most of us were taught in our academic careers are more time consuming and just give the illusion of mastery: -Rereading text -Highlighting and reviewing notes -Repeating phrases over and over to memorize
Effective Techniques Instead, researchers have found the following techniques incorporated in kids’ daily study habits increase sustainable learning and retention: -Flash cards -Spaced practice and self-quizzing -Pre-test -Interleaving practice -Paraphrasing and reflecting on topics and key points
There are numerous YouTube tutorials, books and blogs on how to effectively use these different learning techniques, and they are highlighted in books on learning such as: -Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel -How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey -How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
Not just Busywork. Meaningful Assessments Oftentimes these techniques that are easily misconstrued as busy homework are what teachers use to assess and enhance learning in our students. Unlike a sport where a coach can visually assess the form and coordination involved to develop a certain skill, teachers cannot implement the same visual assessments to determine a child’s thought process when completing an assignment. Therefore, teachers might ask students to reflect on a lesson by showing their work, paraphrasing main points, and utilizing self-assessments. This type of homework, which is effortful, strengthens the learning that began in the classroom and provides teachers a visual into a child’s thought process. If our children do not see the value of these assignments, emphasize that they are designed to greatly enhance their learning through insight and effort.