I’ve read a couple of great articles lately about learning and have posted links to them on our Facebook page
. To be competitive and relevant in today’s ever-changing society, author Nick Soderstrom states we must be able to learn
. He points out that the education system has focused more on what to learn, rather than how to learn. This puts our children at a disadvantage in today’s complex, hyper-competitive world. We carry our misconceptions on learning to college and beyond into the workplace. In his second article, Want to Make Learning Stick? Make it Harder
, Nick argues that often the more difficult route leads to a better outcome. He compares taking the stairs to using the elevator. Taking the stairs on a regular basis leads to better health in the long run.
To help kids (and adults) learn better, Nick outlines three methods. Mathnasium of Littleton uses all three to help our students learn, understand and hold onto their math skills!
1. Spaced Practice: Multiple shorter sessions work better than a single, longer session. This is the reason why we need our students to attend 2-3, one-hour sessions each week and not one 2-hour session. We have found children do not produce double the output nor keep what they've studied as well during a 2-hour session compared to 2, one-hour sessions.
2. Interleaved Practice: This means working on two or three different skills during a practice session rather than focusing on one topic. Nick uses the example of swimming. We have found it to true for math as well. Children remember concepts better if they practice two or three different topics during a session. There are exceptions: children on the spectrum and those with learning challenges may be better served by focusing on one topic at a time.
3. Retrieval Practice: This refers to assessing student understanding on a regular basis. Nick states, “testing is one of the most powerful learning tools known to learning scientists.” Testing requires us to retrieve information, reinforcing our memory. This leads to better learning compared to only being shown the material. Retrieval includes asking lots of questions. We use Socratic questioning all the time at our center. It also features having children teach each other. This is what our junior instructors do in our leadership program. Administering frequent low-stake quizzes like our Mastery Checks also help lasting learning.
If you’ve already experienced our center and wondered why it works so well, there are some of the answers for you! Research shows our method is in alignment with best practices in education, and it works! If you haven’t experienced our center, call us today 303-979-9077 for a free tour of the center and consultation!We'd love to support you and your child in math!
If you want to read other articles we have written on learning, check these out: