We spend our whole lives learning so it’s not surprising that how people learn is something studied by researchers... a lot! If your child thinks or learns differently than other children, it may be confusing to navigate the best ways to help them learn. Here at Peoply, we are all about encouraging children to learn in the unique ways that suit them, so here is a list of 3 unusual ways you can promote learning with your child!
The way we talk to kids about learning can influence how they learn. While it may seem like a minor change, telling your child that they worked really hard may actually be more beneficial for their learning than just telling them that they’re really smart. Some researchers call this the fixed vs. growth mindset distinction. Having a fixed mindset means you believe that your skills and abilities are set for life and you can’t really control them. Having a growth mindset means understanding that we can always work hard to get better at things, even things we don’t think we’re very good at. In some cases, a growth mindset has even been shown to help improve children’s reading and math skills, and may mean they are more likely to notice their mistakes! This is especially true for children faced with some kinds of adversity.
Sleep actually helps us to learn too. When our brain takes in new information, it is temporarily stored in our short term memory. Over time, this information gets transferred to more permanent storage in our long term memory (this is a part of learning!). This process is often called ‘consolidation’, and sleeping has been shown to help consolidation in both adults and kids. It may even be one of the reasons why babies have to sleep so much! In one fun research study, children learned a set of made up words and were either asked to remember them later the same day, or after they’d slept the following day. Children who slept before they were tested remembered many more words, even though it’d been much longer since they learned them!
While sometimes having a friend around may seem distracting, there is lots of good evidence that working with a friend can improve learning. Learning with a friend often involves children discussing or teaching the content back and forth, or negotiating and debating ideas which can help them to learn. One group of researchers taught a computer coding program to kids, and they either learned with a friend or with someone they didn’t know. Children who completed the program with a friend ended up with better coding knowledge and skills than children who completed the program with a stranger. It seems like learning with a friend is both fun and important!
Everyone learns differently, so at Peoply we think it’s important to spend time figuring out what helps you or your child to learn best. These are just a few examples that we wanted to share, but we’d love to hear what you think works best for you and your child too! Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page!